IV/CB Community Forum Meeting Minutes

February 17, 2023

Denise Davis – IVCB Forum Moderator

Good morning, Forum. How’s everybody doing? I’m Denise Davis your moderator. Ronda Tycer is our Forum recap editor. And Amanda McPhaill is our tech guru. As a reminder, our meeting is being recorded. Before you begin speaking, please state your name. While speaking, please be respectful. Personal attacks will not be tolerated. For those online, if you’d like to share URLs, post them in the Chat Box and they’ll be included at the end of the meeting recap. We partner with IVCB Community 1s.t.org and IVCBA.org to get information out. So, be sure to visit their websites and sign up for their newsletters. To sign up for our Forum meeting notices and recaps, send an email to us at ivcbcommunityforum@gmail.com.

I just want to make a quick clarification. I have a lot of people ask, “What’s the difference among our three groups?” The IVCB Community Forum is just citizens who get together to discuss things. We have no formal organization. Ronda, Amanda, John, and I are just volunteers. That’s what we do. IVCB Community 1st is a 501c3 organization that maintains a website and sends out notices. Helen Neff works with Sara Schmitz and that group. They take contributions to help support the website. They focus on getting information out. IVCBA is a 501c6 entity. They accept memberships to help fund their activities. They work with the business community and with the rest of the community to build up our community. That’s the difference among our three groups, but we work together to reach and inform as many people in our community as possible.

I’m excited to let everyone know we have our Sheriff Office Captain and our Fire Chief with us today. They’ve all been very busy, so we’re excited to have them in person today. So Captain Beard, Tiffany, does anyone from the Sheriff’s Department want to make any announcements?

George Cholico – Washoe County Sheriff Office

I’ve been with the department 18 years. I started out 16 years ago as a deputy. I’m pretty much aware of Incline. Most of the [3:06 inaudible] the [inaudible] committee [inaudible] bilingual.

Blaine Beard – Washoe County Sheriff Office Captain

I’ve been to a few of the meetings before. I’ve been up here to this assignment approximately 1 month. I believe it’s my 3rd or 4th visit. Thanks for having us. Sergeant Cholico and I will be stepping out early unfortunately. We’re filming a public service announcement (PSA) for the Polar Plunge coming up here in April. So we’re going to step out and do that. We want to make sure we’re here to answer any questions anyone might have that are law-enforcement related. If you have any, please let us know. Thank you very much for your time.

Margaret Martini – Incline Village Resident

Last week I was driving and I called 911 at the bottom of Mt. Rose and said there’s someone driving impaired. There was a woman driving. We passed her because I knew she would either have a head-on or whatever with the way she was driving. So we got home. And the 911 call was very ineffective. As I told the story later when the sheriff arrived after she’d rolled her car over on Jupiter, he said that the 911 calls go to Las Vegas, and then they come back here.  

Blaine Beard

Is this the red Jeep?

Margaret Martini

Yes, the red Jeep.

Blaine Beard

I was working that day as well. 

Blaine Beard

I was coming into work that day. The thing about being transferred to Vegas is inaccurate. It actually goes to our Dispatch Center first. There’s always going to be a lag time for our response.

Margaret Martini

I came back, went to work, dropped my husband off on Tyner, and then we heard the siren. My husband called and said, “I think that red Jeep was probably in an accident. I was like, “Oh, yeah, right.” So anyway, we’re down to one car right now, so I went home and picked him up and we drove up Mt. Rose towards where he’d heard the sirens. Sure enough, there was the red Jeep, upside down, top off, crap all over the road. There were two sheriffs and Sergeant Cola came up later.

When I drove up, I said I had reported her driving to one of the sheriff’s who was there. When I reported it to 911 and said this lady is going to cause an accident, the person said, “I have to turn you over to the Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP).” I said, okay, that’s fine, but somebody needs to be there before somebody gets really hurt. Then the NHP put me on hold and disconnected. I said, “To hell with it. I did my duty.” It’s on them.

Blaine Beard

You did fine calling it in. Highway 431 is a state highway. It does go to NHP. So they do handle those. However, now—after a few changes the Captain sent out—we are still going to also respond.

Margaret Martini

Right, the sheriff would…

Blaine Beard

We will still go and respond, and handle what we need to handle along with Fire. If it’s reported to NHP [6:58 inaudible]…. But again, unfortunately, there’s a lapse time for our response to get there. It’s got to go through Dispatch. It’s got to come back to us. We have to travel to get to wherever it is.

Margaret Martini

Right, but it was just right above the fire station at Jupiter.

Blaine Beard

Right.

Margaret Martini

And the sheriffs were there and Fire.

Blaine Beard

We met with Chief Sommers after this incident—Sergeant Cola and I. It was a matter of it being routed through Grass Valley, and ultimately dispatched through Washoe County. We’re going to guarantee that for any type of accidents like that—because we’re closest and NHP doesn’t have personnel in the area as much as they used to or as much as they would like, so these calls for accidents will be routed directly to the Washoe County Sheriff Office (WCSO). We’ll be the first responders on the scene. We’ll show up and hold the scene, and whatever needs to be done with medical aid. We’ll hold that scene until the DHP can come to take over the call. But we’re now taking away that one step to ensure that the calls go directly—for vehicle accidents—route directly to us so we can have that first response because we’re closest.

Margaret Martini

So what’s your response when someone calls you and says someone’s driving extremely erratically? When I made the call I said they’re heading up Mt. Rose Highway, and that’s not a good thing because there’s too much traffic on that road with all the skiers, and it’s a two-lane road…

Blaine Beard

When calls like that come in, we definitely tell the people, “Don’t follow the person because it could agitate them.” Often, people will still do that. But when those calls come in to Dispatch with [8:43 inaudible] attempt to locate, they will describe the vehicle, and they’ll broadcast that through Dispatch and to our other agencies as well. With the vehicle description and the license plate, that way any other vehicles in the area where that’s coming towards or the direction of travel, will know to look out for that vehicle. Every now and again we hit the needle in a haystack, and there will actually be a patrol vehicle in the area that can respond right away and be there. But oftentimes we’ll have to try to locate the vehicle based on just the description and direction of travel.

So calling in is something we definitely encourage in all cases. Following along is something we do not. Once we get that call into Dispatch it goes out on our CAD system, over the radio. “So if you see that vehicle, that’s the vehicle we’re talking about.” [9:28 inaudible] to pull them over.

Margaret Martini

Okay, thank you.

Blaine Beard

We try to be proactive in these cases. As a matter of fact, on my day off down in the valley just a couple of weeks ago, I had someone that came by [9:40 inaudible] and took off, and they were drunk as well, so I called it in and got a [9:47 inaudible] SLAT to follow them, and when they came into town on I-80 they pulled the vehicle over.

Margaret Martini

So she was drunk?

Blaine Beard

Oh, yes, she was drunk at 1pm. But it works out sometimes. Again you’re dealing with the valley where there are a lot more resources there. Up here with the terrain it’s often difficult to actually locate the vehicle. But if it’s going up or down 431, there are only so many places where it can go. It’s easier to find. It’s just a matter of getting the resources there in time before an accident happens. We’ve already worked on correcting that. The next day we talked to the Chief about it.

Margaret Martini

I just wondered because she was allowed to drive all the way up Mt. Rose highway in that condition. Obviously she only injured herself and her car but…

Blaine Beard

It could always be worse, yes.

Margaret Martini

That’s why we passed on the double yellow and got ahead of her at the bottom of Mt. Rose and as far away from this lady as we could.

Blaine Beard

Well, thank you for calling in. It also got us together to talk about some issues we need to work with the radios and make sure there’s not that extra step. Thank you.

Judy Miller – Incline Village Resident, IVGID Dog Park Committee Member

I have a question. We’re getting ready for another big holiday weekend. I understand last weekend there was quite a calamity on Ski Way at the Diamond Peak ski area. I know there’s an agreement for you to patrol that area even though it’s a private road.

I wonder what kind of patrol you’ve done on Ski Way. How often do you get up there?

Blaine Beard

I think I know what you are talking about – that 4-person accident?

Judy Miller

I wasn’t there. I just heard about it.

Blaine Beard

There was one vehicle and it was a domino effect. One vehicle slid and ran into three… It hit one parked car that hit the next that hit the next. Unfortunately, we don’t enforce anything on that private area. We do enforce it … if it’s a call for service such as domestic or battery or… We do travel that section there when going up to upper Tyrolia [12:12 inaudible].

Judy Miller

What kind of … because on a holiday weekend it gets chaotic. This is just one incident.  From what I’ve been hearing, it’s an ongoing thing. People are speeding, but you don’t enforce speeding there.

Blaine Beard

We can enforce it if it’s a reckless driver but if it’s just regular speeding, we can’t enforce that until they clear Big Water Grill —from that point and all the way down Ski Way—not in Diamond Peak. We have the data collection boxes we can put up in various locations in town and from that point going on down the hill to see the data and how the speeding goes. That’s what we use to help us dictate where we specify traffic enforcement. So if we put those data collection boxes up for 1 week, and it tells us where and what times the speeding occurs, that helps us to target enforcement.

Judy Miller

Okay. I was curious to know what enforcement is at the ski area…[inaudible]

Blaine Beard

We had those boxes up along Lakeshore I believe Jan 31st – February 7th. We just took them down off of Country Club. That’s a spot we’ll utilize next time as well. We put them up every couple of weeks just to kind of gauge speeds.

Judy Miller

But not within the ski area?

Blaine Beard

No. And to answer your question about the accident, it’s more or less up to our discretion whether to take a report of accidents on private property. We try to get the folks involved to just exchange information for insurance, and they can work it out.

Judy Miller

So you wouldn’t issue a citation…

Blaine Beard

Not on private property unless it’s reckless driving or something.

Judy Miller

Who determines if somebody’s going to get cited?

Blaine Beard

Well, the girl who was at fault wanted a police report, and one of our guys told her, “If you do a police report, just so you know, you will get cited.” She said, “Oh, no, that’s fine. We’ll just exchange information.”

Judy Miller

It’s a bad situation up there.

Joe Farrell – Incline Village Resident, PulsePoint Board Member

I have a good friend who works at Diamond Peak. He was at this accident, and he said it was very icy [14:40 inaudible]. He said he was trying to direct traffic– he’s an employee of Diamond Peak– and he was blown off. So my question is, “Wouldn’t it be better for an employee to call the sheriff and say … [15:03 inaudible] I don’t know the full details [15:09 inaudible]

Blaine Beard

They can call us – and if we have the staff and the time, we can go up there and just sit there and turn on the lights, and hopefully that will kind of deter speeders. But again it’s on private property. So if we get a call for service down here – say here at the library—this is a higher priority because this is Washoe County.

Joe Farrell

Usually people are just ignoring …

Blaine Beard

It’s private property, it’s a ski resort. They’re going to have to figure out how to enforce there.

Joe Farrell

Okay, thank you, sir.

Helen Neff – Incline Village Resident

I’d just like to give a compliment. When I was a victim in a crash, the sheriff deputies arrived immediately, and they were so compassionate, so helpful, so comforting. It took the Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) a long time to get there. So I really appreciate what you guys did.

The other thing is on the impaired driving. My objection to cannabis lounges—which may be water under the bridge for now—is you don’t find an impaired driver until they cause a crash, and they injure someone, and they cost all of us a lot of money. That’s why I was so against cannabis lounges.

Another thing – when I was a victim, I thought I was in an accident. And there were so many people who told me “No, you were in a crash.” It was perhaps 30 years ago that the Associated Press made a requirement that the word “accident” not be used because it gives the impression that it was something that could not have been avoided. And in almost all cases, it can be avoided. It took me a long time to adjust my brain to the idea of using the word “crash” rather than the word “accident.” And I know your reports say on the top “Crash Report.” But I just want to throw that out there. When you’re thinking of an incident or referring to an event on the road – it probably is a crash. You can use the word “incident.” But it’s usually not an “accident.” Even though there was just one person who rolled over, it does cost our society a lot.

Margaret Martini

On Mt Rose highway, do you guys patrol that as well as the NHP?

Blaine Beard

It’s NHP’s jurisdictional roadway. But we’re frequently coming and going on it along the route. So, if we see something that violates the law, we’ll take enforcement action.

Margaret Martini

So, I need the term “enforcement action” clarified. The other day Palisades Tahoe had all of that traffic, and then 267 was full of traffic. Again I was going down Mt. Rose highway and Sky Tavern ski area had the traffic backed up all the way to Doug Fir. And cars were still coming, so you know it was backed up further. In this case it was all caused by the Sky Tavern backup, which made it so nobody else could go anywhere. Would the WCSO assist the NHP in doing that? Could they come and say, “No, the parking lot is full, move on, move on?” They had two people from Sky Tavern—one didn’t have a vest, the other did—standing in the middle of the street waving us to go downhill, because there was no backup going downhill.  And that seemed pretty dangerous.

Blaine Beard

Ultimately, if it occurs on Mt. Rose Highway, it’s going to be their jurisdiction. But if there’s a parking problem or a public safety hazard created and we’re available, we’ll deal with that certainly.

Margaret Martini

I didn’t know whether to call you because it wasn’t imminent someone might be injured—but maybe. I thought surely the sheriff will patrol that.

Blaine Beard

Well, do make the call, whether it’s rerouted through us or through the Nevada State Police, or us, but at least put the call in, otherwise we might not even know it exists until someone actually calls in and places a service request.

Margaret Martini

Would it be appropriate to call the sheriff?

Joseph Colacurcio – Washoe County Sheriff Office Sergeant

I was working that day so I handled it and know exactly what you’re talking about.

Margaret Martini

… and we just kept going? You could get into Reno instead of being backed up to the freeway.

Joseph Colacurcio

Right. I got up here before it happened. But my family was trying to get up here and they had to turn around and go back.

Margaret Martini

There was no place to turn around.

Joseph Colacurcio

Right. So I called down there. So, we do assist NHP just like the captain was saying, and NHP did get the call that there was traffic all the way up. Traffic was held up for a while. Calling them and letting them know about the situation… they have to manage that or coordinate better.  [20:55 inaudible] They won’t necessarily get cited. A lot of those folks up there were volunteers. Hopefully in the near future—as we addressed it—it won’t happen again. But again we don’t know if it’s going to or not. Tell folks next time to take a different route. However, Sky Tavern is Reno Police Department jurisdiction. So we also gave the information to them.

Margaret Martini

I just wondered who was responsible…

Joseph Colacurcio

Anything on the roadway in Washoe County we can enforce the roadway. The Sheriff’s, department handles that, but not anything in the private parking lots.

Denise Davis

And when we have a problem like that I assume you would like us to call the nonemergency dispatch number [775 785-9276].

I want to let everyone know that Tiffany Clements with WCSO is also here today. You see her a lot at our community events. What is your official title?

Tiffany Clements – Washoe County Sheriff Office Field and Community Specialist

I’m the Field and Community Specialist.

Denise Davis

Do we have any other questions online for the sheriff department? So, when it’s time for Sergeant Cola to take his gift and possibly the Captain here, will you get us some information about how we can donate toward the effort?

Blaine Beard

Absolutely. We’re doing a Public Service Announcement today. We’re going to have some information out there to get it out to the public. [22:57 inaudible]

Denise Davis

And what the cause is?

Blaine Beard

There are a few of them.

Tiffany Clement

That information is posted on the WCSO Incline Village Substation Facebook page.

Denise Davis

Check Incline Village Substation Facebook page for more information. [23:25 inaudible] The CERT Academy starts in April.

Tiffany Clement

There is a Citizen Academy that starts in April. You do have to commit to 10 weeks. It’s scheduled for Tuesdays and then a couple of Saturdays. It’s also posted on the Facebook page. It’s a great way to learn more about law enforcement and about Fire. Several law enforcement communities are involved in it. The academy is scheduled to be in Reno.

Blaine Beard

Yes, it’s a great set of courses you can do a little every day. It gives you a feel for what we do.

Denise Davis

So in April, you’ll have an opportunity to go to the Citizen Academy and an opportunity to go to CERT, which is the Community Emergency Response Team. You can get some free training. Thank you all for joining us today. We appreciate it. Feel free to join us again.

Blaine Beard

Definitely. Thank you for your time.

Kari Ferguson – Incline Village General Improvement District Communication Coordinator

Hi guys. Denise, did you already make all the announcements that I sent you? [I did not.] Okay, perfect I’ll go through them.

We have an IVGID Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday February 22nd at the Administration Building. I sent Denise the link to the page on our website that has the agenda. The agenda is already posted. There is a fitness challenge at the Recreation Center beginning in March. You can sign up now if you’re a Rec Center member or if you want to join to do the fitness challenge. I’ll put all links in the Chat Box for everyone who’s online. We have our last twilight snowshoe hike at Diamond Peak March 10th. Make sure to sign up for that. The last one was last Friday. It was a bit chilly. But it was a great event, luckily right before the storm. So it was great. Our seniors are doing cross-country skiing on Monday, which is a new program this year. And we’re excited about it. That’s all that’s happening. But we do have a lot of events at Diamond Peak all spring like the Downhill Dummy and other stuff. I’ll put the links for Diamond Peak in the Chat Box so you can peruse there and make sure you get them on your calendar.

Denise Davis

Thanks, Kari. The agenda for the Board of Trustees meeting on the 22nd is posted online. It is shorter than our last few agendas. Yea! Some of the highlights are several reports to the board. One is from our Federal Legislative lobbyist Marcus Faust. He’s done a lot of work toward getting money for the effluent pipeline. We have a few other reports to the Board. On General Business, there is “Review, discuss, and provide direction for the District General Manager evaluation process.” They continue to work on the 2023-24 budget. They had one budget workshop. They already got started on things and gave staff directions. This is follow-up, just moving the ball down field. They’ll also discuss their contract with Flashvote, and some other issues regarding public records. The full agenda is posted online. If you want more information it will be in our Chat Box and recap.

Aaron Vanderpool – Incline Village Resident, HOA President

Good morning. I think you might end up talking later about the Nevada Legislature session being open. I like to look at the proposed bills and changes. I just want people to be aware that two sessions ago, you were able to see the public comment on the bills on their legislative Nellis page. They took that away. I’ve been trying to reach out to the legislature to find out more details about that and possibly get the comments back because I enjoy—as do others—seeing the comments on these proposed law changes. So I just want people to be aware of that. Thank you.

Judy Miller

A number of us wanted to provide testimony for one of the committees that works on the State budget. In particular, we’ve been having issues regarding our needs in this community to look at short-term rentals and to limit some of the other things over which TRPA has jurisdiction. TRPA is funded by the State of California as well as the State of Nevada. So the thought was to try to get the legislators to pay attention to how the TRPA has been ineffective in protecting the lake and its inhabitants and visitors. I agree with Aaron. It is a bit disconcerting. I believe four of us from this community had submitted public comments and had some technical difficulty with their call-in system. So seeing those things on line is the only way to get to know what comments were made and submitted. A lot of us spent a lot of time preparing, but they are nowhere in the public’s eye. Hopefully, Aaron, you’ll get your question answered and they should restore that.

Aaron Vanderpool

Call the main number on the legislature’s page and I encourage other people to also ask them, because the more people that ask, maybe they’ll restore it.

Denise Davis

Good point, Aaron. Thanks. Just a quick note, that the TRPA is not funded by any specific funding source. So this last year, they were looking down the road at their operating budget and came up with 7-7-7 plan. They’re hoping to get $7 million from the Federal government, $7 from the two state governments—California will pay 2/3 and Nevada 1/3. They will ask for $7 million from county and local governments. And they plan to do that for the next 10 years. That is their funding plan.

I did manage to get through the legislature telephone system and provide some public comment. If you’re interested in giving public comment, I will give you the whole lowdown on how to do that. I’ll forward you the instructions if you send me a request to our email at ivcbcommunityforum@gmail.com. It is important. Our legislature in Nevada only meets every other year. They have a lot of business to conduct in the very few months that they meet. It’s important to let them know as citizens how we feel about things that are affecting us. So I urge everyone to participate.

Margaret Martini

Is that $7 million from each over 10 years or is that $7 million from each annually?

Denise Davis

It is per year. They need $21 million per year. Chief Sommers. We’re happy to have you here today. We miss your smiling face.

Ryan Sommers – North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Chief

Good morning. We’ve conducted our first round interviews and initial job offers for the seasonal positions. So we’ll have 3 hand crews again this summer. Two hand crews are funded by the Fire Department, and a third funded by NV Energy through an agreement we have with them. We’ll be bringing on 60 additional people just like we had last summer.

We’re pretty much stagnant right now. As far as what we’re doing next, we’re getting ready for springtime. We’re out digging out hydrants like there’s no tomorrow. Please, please, please, if you see a hydrant dug out, that’s awesome. Leave it that way. We have one—and we’re trying to find out who it is—we have one private snow removal company that’s using our hydrants we’ve dug out as storage. They take the snow from their place and put it right on top of our hydrants. If you see that happening, let me know. If you can get the name of the company or whatever we can let them know that’s not for storage. “It’s not a brand new hole for you to use for snow storage.” It’s quite the issue for us. So far we’re doing okay keeping up but there’s a lot of snow out there. If you see a problem area, let us know and we’ll get to clearing it out right away.

When the sheriff was talking, I think I saw some puzzled looks on faces when they were talking about Grass Valley.  I want everyone to know we are dispatched by the Grass Valley Emergency Command Center in California. We were with Washoe County. We left Washoe County and went with Grass Valley for a number of reasons. If anyone wants to get more details I’ll be more than happy to go over them with you. Grass Valley Dispatch covers 70% of the Tahoe Basin.

On the Fire side of things, daily operations are a lot smoother. Going to Grass Valley, we can now get the closest resource to either our IVCB citizens that may need it, or Kings Beach citizens who may need it. So if an emergency in North Tahoe happens to be in Incline, and they’re closest, they get dispatched to us. It’s not a turf war with us at all. We take care of each other’s calls if we need to. So for multiple reasons it made sense to do that. They are called a “command center” for a reason. They take control of the incident until the first arriving field unit gets there. In the summertime, that is huge. They utilize the wildfire cameras. They look at the cameras. They look at the smoke column. They listen to the 911 callers. If there’s a good-sized plume of smoke coming, they will dispatch aircraft immediately. That’s not cheap, but they do what’s right. If they look at the cameras and there’s not that much smoke, they don’t launch the aircraft whereas other agencies automatically launch that aircraft every single time.

And those air tankers carrying a wet slurry can’t land with it. They have to dump it somewhere. They have to jettison that somewhere. They have to dump the whole thing. And that’s a waste of money. So the same with structure fires. They take command of the incident over the phone and give us the updates and augment our response based on what they’re being told about the fire. So if it sounds like it’s a bad fire, they automatically upgrade to a 2nd alarm or whatever they need to do, so that we can get there and get the problem mitigated ASAP.

So when you hear Grass Valley, don’t panic. We have a multitude of repeater sites with them—a huge network with them. We have two radio systems and actually two redundant systems to talk to them. A lot of agencies transfer their 911s to them. Reno-Sparks fire has transferred their 911s for the past 40 years to a private entity. We elected to stay with another government agency. But 911s are all transferred all the time throughout the US all day long, a multitude of [37:30 inaudible].

In Douglas County, they dispatch to another county in California. It’s not something new. But it’s new to us up here at the lake. It’s been working out very, very well. They are a pretty squared-away agency. They’re a very squared-away Dispatch Center. They staff the Dispatch Center with battalion chiefs, 5 captains, and 8 firefighters. And being dispatched by a fire person on the other end of the radio is absolutely critical and really helps with everything across the board.

Denise Davis

If we call 911 with a fire emergency, that’s going to go to Grass Valley?

Ryan Sommers

If you call 911, our [38:15 inaudible ] remains the Washoe County Sheriff Office. They answer it. They’ll ask if you need police, fire or medical. If you say “fire” they’re going to transfer it. They do stay on the line so they can listen to get the details so they can get their deputy response. For 98% of the calls, Washoe County Sheriff will be there first. They’re out in their vehicles; they’re on patrol. We’re in the station. We have to jump up, run down, depending on what it is, get on our different outfits, get in the apparatus, and then go. So Washoe County will always be at the incident first whether they share a dispatch center or they don’t.

You pay a 911 tax on your cell phone, which is to pay for the staffing in Washoe County to keep that peace app up. There are three peace apps in Reno. If one was to go down for technical reasons, there are two others for backup. There’s Reno Recon and Sparks.

Denise Davis

So the sheriff office has a non-emergency number to call. Does the fire department have a non-emergency number?

Ryan Sommers

We do. Grass Valley Emergency Command Center non-emergency number is 530-477-0641. Hit option 7. If you go to the doctor and you come home and you have stairs and you need help getting up those stairs, call that non-emergency number and we’re going to come out and help you back into your house, help you out of your house, whatever you need. Use that non-emergency number (530-477-0641).

[Speaker]

You also help rescue dogs out of cars. You guys did that for us.

Ryan Sommers

Yes, all risks.

[Speaker]

Our dog locked himself in the car. So thank you.

Ryan Sommers

Absolutely.

Denise Davis

So for every call do you get to drive the big trucks around?

Ryan Sommers

I used to.

Margaret Martini

Clarification. If we call that number, it is the Grass Valley nonemergency number. If somebody didn’t have that number, could they call 911, which dispatches to that same number?

Ryan Sommers

It gets to Grass Valley, but not via that phone number. It gets to Grass Valley on the 911.

We have 10 dedicated circuits from Washoe County to Grass Valley. I say it’s different, because when you call 911, there’s a [41:15 inaudible] that comes up. Phase 1, phase 2 from a cell phone—they have the longitude and latitude of your location using your cell phone location. All of that information in the background gets transferred to Grass Valley over those 10 dedicated circuits. We can take 10 simultaneous 911 calls with all that information. So, yes it gets transferred to Grass Valley not on the nonemergency side, but as a true dedicated 911 call. 

Bill Kahrs — Incline Resident

Do you foresee with high snowpack there will be reduced fires around the basin?

Ryan Sommers

If I had that answer, I’d invest more in the stock market. I’ll say that with the higher snowpack we have this year, it’s favorable for us to have a lower wild-land fire in the timber. Because those trees and that vegetation now have the ability to soak up that water and keep more on the wet side of the scale, which reduces the wild-land risk up here.

In the valley, it’s the opposite. The flash fuels we call the 1-hour fuel– it takes 1 hour to change the moisture content 1%. It makes it a little bit worse for a wild-land season in the valley because now we’ll have more grasses. Those grasses cure out faster—with a change in the percentage from 1 hour down to 0. So with more grass we have a higher rate of fires in that scenario. Does that make sense?  So that’s the correlation that we know so far.

Margaret Martini

Is that what’s called “cheat grass?”

Ryan Sommers

 It’s all grass and vegetation 1 inch and below in diameter including cheat grass.

Denise Davis

So looking forward to spring, which may get here in May or June, I know you’re not doing chipping and defensible space evaluations yet, should people be doing their paperwork and getting signed up or is it too early for that?

Ryan Sommers

Thank you very much for bringing that up. We have just entered into a contract—we have purchased software—called “Fireside” for defensible space evaluations. We’re going to do a big public-relations release on that when we get it up and running; and another one called “Chipper Day.” So more than likely we’re going to start asking—and we would like—more folks to utilize the app to do just that. So hold off on that until we’ve launched that. Then we’ll probably parallel its use for a couple of seasons and then try to go entirely to this app. It doesn’t have to be on your phone. If you don’t have a smartphone, don’t panic. If you have a laptop or a desktop and go to a web browser you can accomplish the exact same thing.

We’re asking people to go to the app because it’s going to be easier for us to track and it’s going to give us a lot more data. Out of the work that’s been done in those two scenarios, right now if someone wants to know if their neighborhood is defensible space compliant, I’m a little embarrassed to say, we have to go to a file and start counting and looking at pieces of paper.

This will start giving us a monthly report. We can say what parts of town are doing good, what parts of town get an award and what parts of town don’t. So, you can hold off on any of that until we get this app launched. I just signed the contract 2 weeks ago. They’re outfitting the app to our needs. We’ll have some more information on there when it comes to Defensible Space Evaluations (DSEs) that other of their clients don’t have.

Kathie Julian – Incline Resident, Washoe County Board of Adjustment Member

Yes, Chief Sommers, will that compliance information be public and available on the website?

Ryan Sommers

I don’t know yet. Do I have a choice?

Kathie Julian

Well it seems to me it would be good for the community as a whole to know which areas are compliant and which aren’t at some point in time.

Ryan Sommers

If you actually google Fireside – you can see generic reports. You’re not going to see what Mr. Smith’s issues were. But you are going to see what part of a town or neighborhood has completed their defensible space. So yes, that will be available on the website which will be public.

Joe Farrell

Chief, thanks for all you do. We appreciate it. I have two quick questions. We get all this [? ] about smoke and fire in California in the last… forever.  Do you have any knowledge whether California is really doing any work to mitigate or manage the forests? We seem to get a lot of [46:54 inaudible] I mean I was in DC a couple years ago, and they got a lot of smoke I think from California’s “Cabin Fire,” all the way to DC. Any insights?

Ryan Sommers

It’s so hard to know. The only reason I say that is because there are landowners—I’m not talking private, I’m talking state—state responsible areas (SRAs)—local government, equivalent to like an IVGID scenario—they definitely are all doing their part 100%, but, they are a very small chunk of the state. The United States Forest Service (USFS) is doing their part, but definitely not to the scale we’d like to see. It’s public, so I can let you know that some of the scenarios in California are baffling to me. My typical smart-aleck comment is “If you don’t like smoke and fire – get out of California.”

They did a bunch of fuels work at the top of Echo Summer in those tracts. You’ll see a cabin, or it’s a cabin lease, from the USFS with an x amount of year lease. It used to be a 99-year lease. It’s changed now. The Forest Service went in there, did a bunch of work, and the HOA took the USFS to court saying that they can’t come in and do that work on their own land. It’s stuck in litigation for years and years and years. It added to the fuel load—the pocketed fuel load—during the Caldor Fire. So now not only is no landscape left, there are no cabins. Every good deed does not go unpunished. [48:47 inaudible]. They tried to do the right thing, and the homeowners stopped it. There’s so much red tape when it comes to California, in how things happen there. I think they’re trying to do their best – but IMO they’re not doing the amount that needs to be done.

Joe Farrell

If we have a neighbor—I walk our neighborhood a lot—who’s not compliant with defensible space, should we call your office? Will they be cited? Do we have to sign a formal complaint?

Ryan Sommers

No, all of that can come in anonymously. So if you see something in the spring where you can see the vegetation and you don’t feel the defensible space is adequate, call Ryan Dominguez. He’s our defensible space inspector year round. Say, “Please take a look at this property?” We don’t need your name or your phone number.  We’ll conduct a drive by. It’s only a drive-by. We can start the process of notifying that homeowner that “We drove down your street. You’re not in compliance. Here’s what we’d like to do. Will you invite us onto your property and allow us to go over in more detail with you?” Most people take us up on it. They really do.

The sticky point is, and I’ve been saying this for a couple of years, enforcement is very cumbersome.  It’s a 36-month process. We have to send certified letters over X amount of time–over a time span. “If you’re not in compliance, if you don’t do it, we’re coming in.”

We did it once on Country Club.  We went through the 36 months, we went on their property, we conducted the fuels work, and we billed them. The certified letters didn’t get to them, but they were signed for. So, then they got our bill and they signed for it but didn’t pay it, we put a lien on their property taxes. Then all of a sudden they wanted to come to talk to us. But at that point it was in the District’s legal hands. I washed my hands of it. The gentleman showed up at the station very upset about our bill. And we billed only for our time. We aren’t out there to make a profit. I believe it was $8000 for a 20-person crew. It was a bit more expensive than the two or three landscapers he could have hired to get it done but we sent out the full crew to get it done and over with. The two attorneys worked it out. It didn’t have to go any further. He paid his bill. He actually apologized afterwards. He said there were some other personal issues going on but he did apologize and we got it taken care of. So we have the ability to do that, but it’s a very laborious process. I’m working with a couple of gentlemen in town through the Parasol, and upcoming legislation—we’re going to see if we can have  more enforcement in a shorter time.

Judy Miller

I just want to know if we have recourse for lands owned by the Forest Service and State of Nevada.

Ryan Sommers

Start with us. Call us and we’ll put the pressure on them. Nevada State lands has been very, very good. They just changed personnel. The previous gentleman retired, and there’s a new gentleman in there who’s awesome.  He’ll hire us immediately to go work, and we can do it. The Forest Service—not so much. We have an annual contract with USFS we have to renew every year. We have to go through the bidding process just like anybody else who wants to work for the Forest Service. Then they have to find the money. I don’t know what that consists of to get the work done, but local governments can put pressure on the Forest Service and especially on the LBTMU, which has a new forest supervisor—Eric Walker. He’s a squared-away guy. He’s not putting up with the red tape of the Forest Service. And we’re starting to get more done. You’ll see that the piles along 28 are finally getting burned. That’s a result of the new forest supervisor. So, start with us—or start with him as well—you don’t have to go with us. Not I—but the District can put more pressure on the Forest Service to get that stuff done. And that includes the Burton-Santini lots that may be next to you. Those are USFS lots that may be next to your private residences. Call us on those too. We can do those. We just got approved for a $200,000 grant from the USFS to do nothing but those Burton-Santini lots. We have a list of priority lots. It may not meet your priorities, so tell us yours and we’ll see if we can compromise and get those lots safer.

Denise Davis

I contacted the Chief about some NV State Conservation lots in my neighborhood. You looked into them. I also believe—the number I’ve heard recently at the State Legislature is that the USFS is in charge of 80% of the land in the Basin. So they’re the 80% owner. Perhaps if we started contacting our senators Cortez-Masto and Rosen and representative Amodei about the USFS that would also be helpful.

Ryan Sommers

And don’t leave out California. The TMU is bi-state. The USFS can put—not in a mean or malicious way—political pressure on two states.

Margaret Martini

I’m throwing out a hundred bags every year [Ryan Sommers inaudible]. So every year it costs me over $1000 to do my defensible space. And yet below us is IVGD greenbelt. They never do any raking up of the pine needles, etc.

Ryan Sommers

You’re going to hit a hot button. You know very well that we burned that area below your house more than once. We don’t have the staffing to rake the forest. But with the vegetation on those parcels–we revisit those. For those of you who don’t know, we do maintain all of IVGID’s areas in Incline—over 1000 acres. And we perform fuels work on that. No, we don’t go and rake it every year. But we reduce the fuels enough so that if there was to be a fire there, we could get in there and fight it and stop it on that land, in contrast to if we didn’t do anything at all. Some of these homeowners are not doing anything at all.

In the wild-land arena, when the flames are above 8-10 feet, depending on the wind direction, we can’t go in with our hoses. We have to rely on aircraft to lower the intensity of those flame lines before we can go in and support them and they can take their planes out. The fuels work on IVGID land…  We can go in there with our hose lines right now and put a fire out before it gets any worse. So I tend to disagree with you that IVGID has not done anything. We do IVGID’s work, and I know for a fact we’ve done it there.

Denise Davis

I have a quick question on defensible space evaluations. Is it true that if it’s marked on your evaluation that a tree should be cut –you have to cut the tree down?

Ryan Sommers

If the tree is marked—not necessarily on the plan but it has that special paint on it… First, why is it marked? If it’s dead, yes, it has to come out. If it isn’t dead—and you want to contest it—talk to Ryan Dominguez. He’s very easy to work with. He can give you pros and cons on that tree. I don’t have a definite black and white answer. Talk to Ryan, because he can work with the homeowners and maybe come up with a plan. At the least he may ask you to limb it up – maybe higher than you want—but it may save removing the tree.

Mark Hestmark – Incline Resident

The fir trees that are dying on the hillside, is that drought related or is that pine beetle?

Ryan Sommers

We may have a beetle problem—not as bad as we had in the past—but for sure it’s drought related. Is this your first time at this meeting? [Yes] In the summer I was talking about the percentage of moisture in the vegetation. Trees take 1000 hours to reduce or increase moisture content in a tree over certain diameter. The moisture content in the trees around here is the lowest it’s ever been since record taking began in the 60s. It is 100% drought related. Firs are very susceptible to disease, a lot quicker than pines. Firs are weeds. Firs can germinate in a dump. Pines have to drop seeds into a minimum amount of dirt to germinate.  So you’ll see a lot more firs than pines. Until we burn it. Then the pines start coming up because [59:50 inaudible].

Kathie Julian

Could we have some telephone numbers for Ryan Dominguez and a website link to Fireside? Thanks.

Ryan Sommers

For Ryan, call 775 831 0351. Listen to the menu for his extension. I don’t have the link for Fireside off the top of my head. I’ll put the link in the Chat. Just google it you can see their product.

Denise Davis

Thanks for joining us today. We had a lot of great questions.

Amanda McPhaill – Washoe County Library
Real quick, we have our Tahoe Talks series coming up in March, April, and May. In March is “Understanding Systemic Racism in the United States.” We have two professors from University of Nevada Reno. Our April topic is undecided. In May our topic is “Sustainable Tourism in the Tahoe Basin.” Those talks are held the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 6:30pm. We also have our Tahoe Trek series, which is folks who go on vacations around the world and come back and bring their stories to us. In May we have journalist Kyla Anderson talking about her several trips to Thailand and giving tips on how to travel in that part of the world.

Denise Davis

I just want to remind everyone that in addition to books, and videos, and magazines – the library also has equipment available for the public to use. They have a 3D printer. They have a new cricket machine and various accessories for it. Also in the Maker Space, they have a heat press where you can press vinyl onto t-shirts and a different printer to print on mugs, water bottles, So our Maker Space has these dedicated major types of activities you can participate in. Or you can Book-A-Librarian for 50 minutes. And they will help you with various projects. I urge everybody to check out what we have available through our library, and they’re always happy to help.

To give you a heads up as far as agency meetings coming up:

• On Tuesday February 21st, the Washoe County Board of Commissioners will meet at 10am. Their agenda is online. The URL will be in the Chat Box. One of the items on the agenda is the Walmart Opioid settlement. They are anticipating receiving $32 million+.

• Our next Incline Village Mobility Hub meeting…. This is the hub that is proposed—well not officially proposed—but the site preferred by Mr. Hasty at the Old Elementary School…. Our next meeting will be Monday February 27 5:30pm. Check the website to learn if the in-person portion will be here at the library or at the Visitor Center. It’s also available online. It’s very important to attend those meetings.

• The next TRPA Governing Board and various committees meeting will be held Wednesday February 22nd. The Regional Plan Implementation Committee (RPIC) will meet nor earlier than 1:30pm.

• The next Washoe County Citizen Advisory board (CAB) meeting is Monday March 6 at 5:30. It will be held here at the library and on Zoom.

• The Washoe County Tahoe Transportation Plan… The County hired consultant Amy Cummings of Parametrix. That draft is online. The URL will be in the Chat Box. Public comment is welcome through the end of February. Helen, is there anything else you want to say about that? Email your comments either to the county or directly to Amy. That email will be in the Chat and in the recap.

Helen Neff

It’s 51 pages so it’s a lot of reading. You can just view the part on recommendations. Also, I’d like to point out the funding. So there is a lot of [ ] money available now, so I would expect the county to move quickly. There are funds to promote safety, particularly safe projects for streets. My personal opinion in reading the report is they talk a lot about crash data on State Route 28. But there is no recommendation to lower the speed limit through town. We are the only town center in the basin with a speed limit of 35 mph through town, with the exception of parts of South Lake Tahoe, California. So I’ll put in a plug for pushing to lower the speed.

Denise Davis

I’ll just give a heads up. The beginning of the report has a lot of verbiage you can probably just skim through. The meat of what you want to know is towards the middle and end. There are also a lot of pictures, so, don’t be afraid when you pull it up and see how many pages it is. There is a lot of white space. Please check it out. It’s important to comment on what they are proposing because what they propose is usually what we get. So now is the time to comment.

• On the TRPA Governing Board agenda on the Consent Calendar they have included the Incline High School addition. I printed it out to look at what’s being proposed at the high school. If interested, look at that. It’s on the Consent Calendar so they won’t be open to public discussion at the meeting.  

• The TRPA RPIC is not starting before 1:30. They have on the agenda as one of their items an informational presentation on a proposed amendment to the Washoe County’s Tahoe Area Plan to allow Single-Family condominiums in Special Area 1 of Incline’s Commercial Regulatory Zone.

This is the issue that came up related to the 947 Tahoe Boulevard condominiums. They discovered those would not be allowed under the current Washoe Tahoe Area Plan.  The county has put forth an amendment to the Area Plan to TRPA, which would allow Single-Family Condominiums. Originally they only allowed in that zone in the Area Plan residential units for affordable and workforce housing.

Kathie Julian

I’d like to make a suggestion. I’m not the person to do it, but it would be great if someone could put onto Facebook and Nextdoor the links to that Mobility Hub study   and the RPIC amendment meeting at 1:30 with a link to get into that so we can broaden the information going out to the community about these two critical issues. Thanks.

Denise Davis

I’m not opposed to posting that, but I will warn you that the “snarky-ness” level on Next door has increased. I know others have commented that they don’t like to post on NextDoor so much anymore because of the snarky comments you get. I will post them, but be forewarned.

• I also want to remind everyone that February 25th -27th Palisades Tahoe is hosting a FIS Ski World Cup event. So you may want to avoid that part of the Basin on those dates. There will be quite a few people coming for that. The last thing Palisades hosted was a Woman’s World Cup event in 2017.

We had a lot of information today but not a lot of time for our usual chit-chat about other issues. Does anyone have anything to bring up quickly? Seeing none… Remember Monday is Presidents Day. We will have quite a few visitors to our area. Please drive carefully, stay safe. We will see you at our next meeting March 3rd.

Participants

Aaron Vanderpool

Amanda McPhaill

Bill Kahrs

Blaine Beard

David Simon

Debbie Nicholas

Denise Davis

Doug Flaherty

Elizabeth Hestmark

George Cholico

Helen Neff

Joe Farrell

Judith Simon

Judy Miller

Kari Ferguson

Kathy Julian

Kimberly

Linda Kahrs

Margaret Martini

Mark Sasway

Martin Hestmark

Pam Straley

Ronda Tycer

Ryan Sommers

Sam Levine

Shirley Appel

Steve Dolan

Tiffany Clements

Tom Jacobson 

Yolanda Knaak

CHAT BOX:
09:28:06     From Kari Ferguson : Diamond Peak Events link:

https://www.diamondpeak.com/events/
09:30:39     From Kari Ferguson : Also, forgot to mention there is a community survey in the works bring release in early March regarding the community Dog Park. I will share link when it is ready!
09:31:58     From kathie julian : Please put the main number for the State Legislature in the chat.
09:37:39     From Aaron Vanderpool : Nevada Legislature NELIS phone number to call and ask about public comment 775-684-6800https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/82nd2023
09:49:30     From kathie julian : Chief Sommers, pls provide the website for the compliance record. Was it Fireside? I could not find it online. Thanks
09:51:37     From kathie julian : Please provide the phone number for Ryan Dominguez-Compliance officer
10:01:24     From Washoe County Libraries : google fireside
10:01:25     From kathie julian : 775 831 0351 for Ryan Dominguez
10:04:17     From Kari Ferguson : Also, local kids are out of schools next week for winter break.
10:05:17     From Washoe County Libraries : fireside.co is the web address

FORUM URLS:
IVGID Board of trustees meeting on Wednesday, 2/22 click here for more info:
https://www.yourtahoeplace.com/ivgid/board-of-trustees/meetings-and-agendas

Meetings & Agendas | Incline Village General Improvement District – IVGID – Incline Village, Crystal Bay, Lake Tahoe
https://www.yourtahoeplace.com/ivgid/board-of-trustees/meetings-and-agendas

Fitness challenge is happening a the Rec Center: https://www.yourtahoeplace.com/events/30-day-fitness-challenge

Snowshoe event on March 10th
https://www.yourtahoeplace.com/events/community-twilight-snowshoe-hikes
Community Twilight Snowshoe Hikes | Incline Village General Improvement District – IVGID – Incline Village, Crystal Bay, Lake Tahoe
https://www.yourtahoeplace.com/events/community-twilight-snowshoe-hikes

Cross country skiing on Mondays
https://www.yourtahoeplace.com/events/cross-country-skiing

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