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Man killed after he shot NDOT worker may have homicide ties

RENO — A man who died in a gun battle with officers after he shot a state transportation worker on a remote Nevada highway last week has been identified as a 34-year-old from Northern California who may have ties to a homicide there, authorities say.

Zachary Minissale of Nevada City, California, was shot last Wednesday after fleeing the scene of the shooting of the Nevada Department of Transportation worker on State Route 278 in Eureka County, Nevada Highway Patrol Lt. Eddie Bowers said Monday. He was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The transportation worker recovered from non-life-threatening injuries and has been released from the hospital, he said.

Bowers said Minissale would have faced multiple charges including attempted murder with a deadly weapon after he opened fire on a road paving crew member in a construction zone south of the mining town of Carlin at about 10 a.m.

He made it about 42 miles south before the white 2017 Dodge cargo van he was driving was disabled by a spike strip and left the highway. He exited the van and began firing at a trooper and Eureka County undersheriff chasing him.

Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Eric Candee, 28, who was armed with an AR15, and Undersheriff Tyler Thomas, 30, who was armed with a 9 mm pistol, fired a total of 16 shots, Bowers said.

Minissale had a .45 caliber revolver. He died of a single gunshot wound, Bowers said. No officers were hurt.

Bowers said an investigation determined Minissale “may have ties to an ongoing homicide investigation” in Nevada City, in the Sierra about 70 miles west of the California-Nevada line.

The Nevada County sheriff’s office said deputies found a 30-year-old British citizen, Jessic Clayton Robiere, dead in a home on Bodie Ridge Road in Nevada City on the same day the shoot-out occurred, June 16.

Minissale owned the home, and authorities believe he also had lived there, Sheriff’s Lt. Sean Scales told The Union.

Scales declined to classify him as a suspect in Robiere’s death but said Minissale had ”obvious ties to the case we are looking at.”

Lake Tahoe visitor hits over $300k jackpot at Stateline casino

STATELINE, Nev. – A Lake Tahoe visitor plans to purchase an electric car and put a down payment on a new home after striking it rich at a Stateline casino.

The visitor, a Caesars Rewards member who wished to remain unidentified, hit a Blazing 7s progressive jackpot on Monday, June 21, worth $317,257.71 at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.

The out-of-state guest hit a jackpot after playing for two hours and the first thought that came to mind was, “Is this real?” officials reported.

Harrah’s and Harveys Lake Tahoe are owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment, Inc.

A Lake Tahoe visitor won over $300,000 playing Blazing 7s. (Provided)

Rising thunderstorm chances ahead of another heat wave at Lake Tahoe

A view Wednesday morning of Lake Tahoe from Diamond Peak Ski Resort in Incline Village. (Provided by Alertwildfire.org)

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CALIF. — The chances for scattered rain showers and thunderstorms have risen ahead of another expected record-breaking heat wave at Lake Tahoe.

The National Weather Service in Reno on Wednesday morning issued a special weather statement that calls for a higher chance of thunderstorms, especially on Thursday, before the thermometer rises for the weekend.

The service said a meandering low pressure over the region will help increase thunderstorm chances through the work week followed by an expansive high pressure build-up that will lead to potentially record-setting temperatures.

Thunderstorms are possible Wednesday afternoon with a 20% chance of precipitation. The high will reach into the mid 70s with wind ranging from 10-15 mph.

The service said Thursday, has the makings of a more widespread thunderstorm day for much of the Sierra and Western Nevada. Moisture levels increase such that locally heavy rain and flooding is possible from slow moving storms.

Thunderstorms are expected after 11 a.m. with a 50% chance of rain and a light wind of about 5 mph. The high is expected to reach into the 70s.

“Anyone with outdoor plans for the next few days, but especially Thursday, should monitor the forecast, try to do outdoor activities in the morning, and have a ‘Plan B’ in case storms threaten,” the service said in the statement. “Given how dry vegetation is, new fires from lightning are possible. Also expect strong outflow winds, rapid temperature drops, and even some hail with these storms.”

After the storms, all attention will then focus on what could be a major heat wave starting Sunday and lasting much of next week.

The service said to expect triple digit highs for Western Nevada with highs in the 80s to 90s for mountain communities.

“These could eclipse records Sunday through Wednesday,” the statement said. “Confidence is high in heat health impacts especially for those outdoors for extended periods of time, and for vulnerable populations such as the elderly and homeless.”

The temperature begins to rise on Friday to the mid 70s with light wind.

In the more extended forecast, the high temperature is expected to reach 80 on Saturday and then mid 80s on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Sorenstam to play in celebrity golf tournament

STATELINE, Nev. — LPGA and World Golf Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam has added the American Century Championship to her 2021 summer competitive golf schedule, becoming the fourth female entering the field that will feature more than 80 sports and entertainment superstars and athletes.

Taking place July 9-11 at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in South Lake Tahoe and televised nationally on NBC, the 2021 American Century Championship will be the strongest field in the 32-year history, tournament officials said.

Sorenstam, the most decorated women’s professional golfer in history with over 90 worldwide wins, is making her second appearance in the American Century Championship. She finished tied for second in her previous appearance in 2014.

A part-time resident of Lake Tahoe, Sorenstam will use the American Century Championship as her final competitive venture before fulfilling her goal in 2021 by playing in her first USGA Championship since 2008, the U.S. Senior Women’s Open, July 29-Aug. 1.

“Lake Tahoe has a special place in my heart and I’m excited to play the American Century Championship, one of my favorite events of the year,” said Sorenstam. “The competition is so fierce, the camaraderie off the course is genuine and the setting on the lake is spectacular.

“I have a lot of fond memories from playing in 2014, and I look forward to competing this year with my kids watching. I’m happy to play a few more events this year in preparation for the U.S. Senior Women’s Open. I need to keep progressing because these guys can play. I hope to improve on my finishes from earlier this year.”

Sorenstam is the fourth female entered into the American Century Championship, alongside NBC News/Today Show host and meteorologist Dylan Dreyer, NBC Sports anchor and on-air personality Kathryn Tappen and Golf Channel on-air commentator Kira Dixon, 2015’s Miss America.

They join the strongest field in the tournament’s 32-year history that will include headliners Justin Timberlake, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes and Charles Barkley. The field includes 16 Hall of Famers, 13 Most Valuable Players, 15 Cy Young Award Winners, eight Players of the Year and multiple Emmy and Grammy Award winners.

The tournament will be televised live on NBC and NBCSN with GOLF Channel surrounding tournament coverage with interviews and insights throughout the week.

Tickets are available online and in advance only at www.AmericanCenturyChampionship.com. Multiple precautions will be in place to ensure the health and safety for all participants as a limited number of fans return to enjoy the action.

The battle for the 2021 title is slated to include standout golfers like two-time champion Tony Romo, three-time champion Mark Mulder, PGA Tour Champions exemption competitor John Smoltz and defending champion Mardy Fish, the U.S. Davis Cup captain.

The 2021 American Century Championship will use the Modified Stableford format whereby points are awarded as follows: 10 for a double eagle, 8 for a hole in one, 3 for a birdie, 1 for par, 0 for bogey, and minus 2 for double bogey.

For more tournament information, visit www.AmericanCenturyChampionship.com.

Tahoe Transportation District expands evening services


STATELINE, Nev. — Starting this weekend, Tahoe Transportation District will have expanded evening services and revised routes to help facilitate connections and increase access to transit throughout its service area, officials announced Tuesday.

Transportation services will continue to be free for all riders for the foreseeable future, a change that was made amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The route changes will take place Sunday, June 27, and include:

The last westbound Route 50 trip will depart Stateline Transit Center at 9:37 p.m., an hour and 27 minutes later than previous schedules.

Route 55 will now serve the Y Transit Center before proceeding to the D St. and Julie Ln. stops. The bus will return to the Y Transit Center before proceeding eastbound on U.S. Highway 50. This shortens the overall trip duration and helps connect the neighborhoods around the Y.

Route 55’s layover will now be located at LTCC to prepare for the electric bus charging needs with deployment of the fleet scheduled later this year.

Later connections and increased access to the Bijou neighborhood and LTCC will be added on Route 55.

Route 19x, which serves the Topsy Lane bus stop (No. 4729), will now run both northbound and southbound. This revision also allows Carson City residents to take transit to and from the Carson Valley Plaza.

Route 22 will now align with Route 50 at Stateline Transit Center at 6:20 p.m., 7:20 p.m., and 8:20 p.m. to facilitate connections across town at the end of the day.

TTD provides transit services to South Lake Tahoe, Incline Village and Carson Valley. It’s mission is to facilitate and implement safe, environmentally positive, multi-modal transportation plans, programs and projects for the Lake Tahoe Basin. TTD is encouraging all visitors to Lake Tahoe to consider using transit.

Riders guides are available at TTD offices, transit centers, major public points of interest, and available upon request. Route information is available online at www.tahoetransportation.org/transit/ and is automatically available by downloading Transit or changing Google Maps to the public transportation setting.

For more information, visit TahoeTransportation.org.

Source: Tahoe Transportation District

Giants rally to win South Tahoe Little League title

The Little League Champion Giants (10-12-year-olds) are coached by Bruce Hernandez (left), Jody Benavidez (right) and Dan Brown (back row, right). The players are (in no particular order) Braydon Agnew, Danny Aguila, Jonah Benavidez, Cobin Brown, Colton Brown, Adrian Grajeda, Conner Hennessee, Jake Hennessee, Cruz Hernandez, Hudson James, Bryce Nye-Morrell and Tyler White. (Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune)

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Giants second baseman Hudson James snared a line drive for the final out and a championship party ensued.

And the celebration had a little extra enjoyment after no Little League celebrations were had last season.

The Giants, who entered the double-elimination tournament as the No. 3 seed, roared back from an early deficit on Monday to defeat the top seed Yankees 8-4 on warm, sunny evening in front of fans, friends and family that packed the stands and surrounded the field.

“Absolutely there is some pent up excitement,” said Giants Head Coach Bruce Hernandez. “Today was amazing. It was against a tough team, a team we’ve battled against all season with really close scores and the boys really wanted it this time. They were fired up and respectful … just amazing kids.”

Colton Brown delivers a pitch for the Giants on Monday. (Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune)

The Yankees came out swinging and put two runs on the board in the top of the first.

Donavan Gomez smashed a double to the left field wall that brought home Bryson Friederici to open the scoring. Gomez eventually crossed home plate for the second run.

Yankees righty Angelo Abandandalo, who pitched the first four innings, was masterful through two and was the victim of “contagious” hitting in the third.

James singled to lead off the inning that sparked a 4-run outburst.

The Giants were all smiles in the third inning during a four-run rally to take the lead. (Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune)

“I tell the kids that all the time,” Hernandez said. “As soon as they get one hit, their bats become contagious and it’s game time.”

Adrian Grajeda singled and Jake Hennessee walked. A throwing error resulted in the Giants first run.

Tyler White lined a double to right center to plate Grajeda with the tying run, but quick fielding by the Yankees resulted in Hennessee being thrown out at home plate.

Yankees’ Donavan Gomez celebrates after his run-scoring double in the first inning. (Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune)

Colton Brown followed by slicing a double down the right field line to score White the go-ahead run.

Cobin Brown then smacked a hard infield single that brought home the fourth run of the inning.

From there, Giants righty Colton Brown did not allow the Yankees to score again while he was on the mound through the fourth.

With two on and two in the bottom of the fourth, Brown got a strikeout to escape the jam.

The Giants, leading 4-2 after four, expanded the lead in the fifth.

Yankees shortstop Bryson Friederici prepares to throw to first for an out. (Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune)

Grajeda ripped a double down the left field line that might still be rolling if it didn’t hit some fans beyond the wall. A walk and a hit batter set up Colton Brown who came through with a two-run single up the middle.

Giants catcher Jonah Benavidez capped the scoring with a two-run single to right field to make it 8-2.

The Yankees never gave up and mounted threats in each of the fifth and sixth innings.

Layne Celnar walked to lead off the fifth. After another walk and an error, the Yankees had their third run.

They may have mounted more of a comeback but the Giants turned a double play to mostly escape the rally.

Giants’ Hudson James and Yankees’ Bryson Friederici wait on a call after a close play at second base. (Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune)

In the sixth, an error, a walk and a couple of wild pitches and the score was 8-4 with one on and nobody out.

Hernandez brought in Danny Aguila from third base to pitch and he slammed the door. Aguila struck out two batters and the third out was a liner to James.

As the Giants had just started celebrating on the field, Assistant Coach Jody Benavidez, a member of South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue, arrived in a truck and joined the party with the horn and sirens lit for a moment. Benavidez was on duty and watching from the stands but was called away for a medical emergency in about the fourth inning.

After the celebration, which included spraying and drinking sparkling cider, the Giants shook hands with the Yankees and received championship rings.

“It was an all-around great game,” Hernandez said. “This year has been amazing to get these kids back out on the field and playing and by far one of the best groups of kids I’ve ever had.”

Yankees starting pitcher Angelo Abandandalo in the first inning on Monday. (Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune)
(Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune)
Giants left fielder Braydon Agnew throws to second base. (Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune)

COVID-19 cases rise a bit in El Dorado County

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — With California reopening this past week, coronavirus cases numbers have risen a bit in El Dorado County.

Officials on Monday reported 25 residents have contracted the virus over a three-day period, Saturday through Monday.

On Thursday and Friday of last week officials reported 15 new cases. Over the last five days there have been 40 new cases, which is eight per day.

Of the 25 new cases, just two are from the Lake Tahoe region. There were six assumed recoveries reported.

The total deaths remain at 116.

The county has had 10,396 residents contract the virus overall. There are about 140 active cases and there are no patients in the hospital due to COVID-19.

About 83,665 county residents have been fully vaccinated (43.3%) and another 96,220 (49.8%) have had at least one dose.

Incline man charged with attempted murder in Kings Beach shooting

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A man has been arrested for attempted murder in North Lake Tahoe after authorities say he fired a gun at the head of another person when a dispute between the two escalated.

Samuel Reyes Navarro

Samuel Reyes Navarro, 27, of Incline Village, was arrested around 1 a.m. Monday in the area of Kings Beach on multiple felony charges, records show. Navarro faces one count of attempted murder, one count of assault on a person with a firearm, and numerous other firearm related felonies.

In addition to the firearm felonies, Navarro is also being charged for obstructing a police officer, and for being in possession of over a half ounce of suspected methamphetamine, according to a press release issued by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.

Navarro was initially transported Monday morning to the Nevada County Jail following his arrest, and then was moved to the Auburn Jail in Placer County later that day. There, he is being held without bail, due to the attempted murder charge, according to a spokesperson with the Auburn Jail. A date has not yet been set for Navarro’s first court appearance.

Deputies originally responded early Sunday morning to an incident after they received a report of gunshots from the area of Bear Street and Rainbow Avenue, around Kings Beach.

At the scene of the shooting, reported around 3:40 a.m. Sunday, deputies contacted the alleged victim, an adult male. The man told deputies that Navarro had fired multiple gunshots over his head after a verbal altercation between the two of them had apparently escalated. Bullet casings were found at the scene, and other witnesses told authorities that they had seen a vehicle fleeing the area after the reported gunshots, a press release states.

Early Monday, a Placer County deputy observed Navarro driving in the Kings Beach area, and a police pursuit of the suspect began, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

During the pursuit, Navarro abandoned his vehicle and fled from law enforcement on foot, according to sheriff’s Lt. Nelson Resendes. However, he was quickly apprehended and taken into custody. The arresting officers on scene found a gun on Navarro’s person matching the gun alleged to have been used in Sunday morning’s shooting, and they also found meth on him, according to the release.

While Navarro surrendered to deputies peacefully after he was tracked down, he will face the charge of evading arrest for fleeing from officers, according to Resendes.

It is not clear what prompted the initial altercation between Navarro and the victim, Resendes said.

Stephen Wyer is a staff writer with The Union, a sister publication of the Tribune. He can be reached at swyer@theunion.com.

El Dorado County government getting back to normal

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — El Dorado County government will “open” once again for business on Tuesday, June 22. After more than a year supervisors will convene their first public, in-person board meeting beginning at 9 a.m.

The Mountain Democrat asked each supervisor, Chief Administrative Officer Don Ashton and Clerk of the Board Kim Dawson to comment on some of the challenges they and their staffs have faced over the past year.

Although District 2 Supervisor George Turnboo and District 3 Supervisor Wendy Thomas only began their official terms of office in January of this year, both have had some negative and some positive experiences on the job.

“It will be really good to get back to normal,” Turnboo said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I’ve been positive and diligent reaching out to constituents. I’m a hands-on guy and I really enjoy helping people.”

He said he looks forward to meeting with people face to face and he expects a good public turnout at Tuesday’s meeting.

Turnboo said he has met with Congressman Tom McClintock a couple times, including once at his District 2 office. “I think it’s the first time Tom has been to a supervisor’s office,” he added proudly.

They are working together on forest management issues, revitalizing a robust logging industry and exploring the possibility of opening a co-generation plant in the county.

Thomas wrote, “One of the more significant impacts has been the lack of ability to connect. People haven’t been in the office and we haven’t gathered with staff around a conference table to rumble with issues. Our (complete) board has never been together in a board meeting.”

While the disconnection has impacted constituent services, “I think our staff has done an amazing job of working around those kinds of limitations,” she said.

Thomas described one bit of “silver lining” resulting from the isolation and disruption. “I can’t tell you how much more efficient we are with our time.”

Able to attend her 15 regional board and commission meetings via Zoom has significantly reduced the time and expense of travel to far-flung parts of the region and state.

“It has saved taxpayer dollars and I have no doubt that as we emerge from these onerous restrictions, we’ll be able ‘to keep the best and leave the rest’ using Zoom when it makes sense and making the most of in-person meetings to connect with each other at a deeper level,” she explained. “Let’s not ever take that for granted again.”

Describing herself and others as “Zoom warriors,” Thomas decried being “insulated in our personal bubbles and fueled by siloed rhetoric … The (broader) disconnection of this past year has destroyed dialog, reason and compromise, which are critical to working through community issues.”

That said, Thomas added, “I am proud that in El Dorado County we were able to find the sweet spot … between ensuring the public good (while) … protecting our individual liberties, freedoms and opportunities.”

She said she is “very much looking forward to Tuesday and future meetings in-person.”

As currently scheduled, the public comment section of Tuesday’s meeting will begin at 3 p.m. following a memorial for county Surveyor Phil Mosbacher who passed away June 10. Public Information Officer Carla Hass further noted that after Tuesday, public comment will revert back to a 1 p.m. start.

Board Clerk Dawson wrote in an email, “We are ready to open to the public. (Our office) did not have any significant impacts (this year) and I do not foresee any (as we get back to normal).”

District 1 Supervisor John Hidahl, who is also chair of the board, told the Mountain Democrat in an email Thursday, “For many staff working from home, poor internet service, kids at home with only remote learning or home schooling, combined with ever-changing work demands has taken a toll. For the BOS, COVID workplace constraints imposed by the state (mask wearing and vaccine distribution shortages) and seemingly endless strings of Zoom meetings have been challenging to keep up with.

“The only positive impacts have been derived from the federal and state funding (i.e. project roomkey),” he said.

“I look forward to the lifting of all mask wearing requirements, all of our local schools being back to normal when they re-open in the fall, our surviving small businesses prospering again and all BOS interaction with the public getting back to normal.”

Tahoe community can voice opinions at Meet and Speak event

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Local artist, musical mentor and creative coach Dreda Dre and city of South Lake Tahoe Parks and Recreation Director Lauren Thomaselli are leading a private Meet and Speak event, aimed at bringing together community members, businesses and various city and school board members.

The event, which will be held at the South Lake Tahoe Parks and Recreation Center from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, June 24. Reservations can be made at Dre’s Patreon, which offers different tiers ranging from $5-$20. Each tier allows guests to bring a certain amount of people to the event, and the proceeds will go to the Meet and Speak series, as well as other events throughout that Dre said he will put on in the future. Guests must RSVP for the event to be granted entry.

Dreda Dre and Lauren Thomaselli have been working with a number of community sponsors and board members to bring this event to life. Provided Dreda Dre and Spicy Mike

Dre said that his long term investment and work with the South Lake community was what led him to start putting together the series.

“I already was along the path of how to give back and what to do,” Dre said, “but then when the pandemic came, I had to sort of reevaluate my approach.”

After working to find inclusive ways and pitching his ideas to the city council and school board, Dre was able to find a safe approach that would also benefit the community as much as possible.

The all ages event is sponsored by a number of South Lake businesses and groups, including The Village, The Buttermuffin, Vinny’s Pizza, Savvy, Xhale, and Lake Tahoe Sitters Child Care. Signing up for Dre’s Patreon will also give users discounts with certain sponsers of the event, including Vinny’s Pizza and Savvy.

“There will be chefs that will be cooking up the food,” Dre said. “People are allowed to bring their own food, people are allowed to bring their own beach chairs and games. There will be music, but no live performances. There will be microphones set up so that people can take turns speaking. There will be speakers who are going to speak on certain topics such as career building, mental health, arts and crafts.”

The event will feature a variety of speakers, pictured above, with more to still be announced. (Provided
Dreda Dre)

Dre said that it’s important now more than ever to get community members together and communicate with each other, and his own love and passion for the community pushed him to make it happen.

“I realized that I’m really intrigued as well as inspired by genuine human connection and the exchange of information,” Dre said. “So that’s when I started to redirect my attention towards how to do that efficiently. I realized that part of the issue that we face is there’s not a lot of communication and there’s not a lot of connectivity. With it being a seasonal town, if it’s not summer or winter or a holiday, it has this feeling that people just don’t care about Tahoe.

“And so there’s a lot of locals who get caught up in that mind frame and also feel the repercussions of that mind frame. And when you add in on top of that, a pandemic, a bunch of outsiders moving in and changing the housing prices and pushing locals further and further off the mountain, it just adds to the overall stress and overwhelming fear and feeling that there is a disconnect and that there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

“Together we are going to speak and we are going to voice our concerns as well as the projects that we’re working on so that everybody can be on the same page and we can move forward, unified towards something better.”

To RSVP for this event, visit Dre’s Patreon..