Incline film fest about water issues

Water is the topic of a film festival at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village starting Sept. 30 with the screening of “FLOW.”

The Nevada college along with UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center will also show “Blue Gold: World Water Wars,” and “Poisoned Waters.”

The movies delve into pollution, privatization and access with a global perspective.

“FLOW” (starts at 6:30pm) is about privatization the world’s fresh water supply.  “Charting a Course to Clarity,” a film is about Lake Tahoe’s clarity is being called a bonus feature. It will air after “FLOW.”

“Blue Gold” plays Oct. 14 at 6:30pm. It looks into human causes of the scarcity of water.

“Poisoned Waters” was a PBS documentary which looks at pollution in the Puget Sound and Chesapeake Bay. It will be shown Oct. 28 at 6:30pm.

A Q & A will be conducted after each screening.

Dugard benefit concert Sept. 20

08-09 Jaycee Lee Dugard, circa 1991The South Lake Tahoe community will host a “Building New Bridges” concert to raise funds and celebrate the return of Jacyee Lee Dugard Sept. 20 from 2-7pm at Horizon Casino’s Convention Center. Dugard was kidnapped from South Lake Tahoe 18 years ago and reappeared late last month in Antioch.

The benefit concert will include music from Movers, The Garcia Brothers, Big Red Band, Turquoise and more. The Movers played in a fundraiser event shortly after Dugard’s disappearance in 1991. In addition to live music, there will be food, a cash bar and silent auction items from South Lake Tahoe lodging properties, restaurants and area activities. Dugard’s stepfather, Carl Probyn, will attend the fundraiser.

Kathie Garcia, a resident since 1957, and Fionn Lambert are hosting the event.

“I’ve lived here a long time, and Jacyee’s disappearance 18 years ago had a significant impact on our community,” Garcia said in a press release. “I wanted to raise funds to help Jacyee in her recovery process and I thought a concert would be an excellent way to bring people together. I’ve reached out to the leaders in our community to participate and the response has been overwhelming — it will truly be a memorable event.”

Soroptimist International of South Lake Tahoe will provide information on how to fight back against a predator with streaming video of a “Fighting Chance”. Local businesses which have donated their time and services include Horizon Casino & Resort, Lake Tahoe Gaming Alliance, Tahoe Beach & Ski, Soroptimist, along with the artists performing.

Tickets are $25 for adults; children 11 and under are free and can be purchased at, at the door or call Horizon’s box office at (775) 588.6211. Funds raised will benefit the Jacyee Dugard Family Fund; Bank of the West, 2161 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, will accept checks as donations. For more information on how to get involved, call Kathie Garcia at (530) 542.4354.

Belly dancing competition at LTCC

Belly dancers from California and Nevada will be competing Sept. 26 in the inaugural “Jewel of the Sierra Belly Dancing Competition and Gala Show.” The competition and show will be at Lake Tahoe Community College’s Duke Theatre on Sept. 26 beginning at 10:30am.

Entrants may compete in four categories: Sapphire (Non-Professional), Ruby (Troupe), Emerald (Diva, over 45), and Diamond (Professional). Awards for each event will be presented by event producer Susie “Namira” Reese.

Twelve judges will be scoring each competitor based on appearance, musical interpretation, technique, use of stage, presentation, entertainment value, and personality. The entrance fee for competitors is $10 per event.

The Gala Show starts at 8pm, and will include live music by special guests Flowers of the Nile. This band plays acoustic Middle Eastern music, using Egyptian instruments and Arabic vocals.

Several vendors will be in the theater’s lobby selling costumes, music, baubles, hula hoops, and commemorative Jewel of the Sierra T-shirts and pants. For more information, go to

Ledbetter Terrace unveiling at LTCC on Sept. 20

Sod will fill the round area in front of the terraced seating. Photo/Kathryn Reed

Sod will fill the round area in front of the terraced seating. Photos/Kathryn Reed

By Kathryn Reed

Through a $150,000 donation from the Ledbetter family, the Lake Tahoe Community College demonstration garden has evolved into a community destination.

On Sept. 20 the Ledbetter Outdoor Terrace will be formally dedicated as part of the annual Autumn Fest.

Landscape architect Brett Long and his crew have been feverishly moving dirt, laying sod, planting trees and creating a terraced seating area on a half acre of the nearly 3-acre garden.

“This venue a lot of people can use,” Long said as the sprinkler system was being put in.

He envisions with some creative seating that graduation could be staged at the mini-amphitheater. Between 120-150 could fit in the area.

The site is wired so movies could be shown at night. It’s ideal for lectures, an outdoor classroom or

John Roos works on the Ledbetter Outdoor Terrace at LTCC.

John Roos works on the Ledbetter Outdoor Terrace at LTCC.

community events venue.

Grass encompasses a circular, stage-like area, while the seating is on terraced rock walls.

Jessica Ledbetter wrote the check on behalf of her parents Bill and Beverlee Ledbetter. Beverlee is the daughter of Harvey and Llewellyn Gross — the founders of Harveys hotel-casino. Bill worked for Harvey Gross.

The original demonstration garden is still there. Part of it helps Lake Tahoe Basin residents with ideas for best management practices — a Tahoe Regional Planning Agency requirement.

The irony is the demonstration garden was created years ago by the college as a mitigation measure from a TRPA infraction, Long said. That obligation recently expired so the college had more leeway in what to do with the property.

Volunteers are needed Sept. 16 from 8am-7pm to wrap-up the work. If interested, contact Long at (530) 541.0255.

Sunday’s Autumn Fest schedule:

11:15am — Ledbetter Outdoor Terrace dedication

11:30am — Speaker: Lesley Higgins, maintaining native shrubs and trees

12:30pm — Speaker: Anna McLean, attracting birds to your garden

1pm — Garden tour and puppet show

1:30pm — Speaker: Lorilyn Haubrich, medicinal plants

2pm — Garden tour and puppet show

2:45pm — Door prize drawing

Ongoing activities include live music, horse drawn carriage rides, pumpkin patch, silent auction, bake sale, and kids’ activities. The event is free.

Jaycee Lee’s abduction gives others a Fighting Chance

By Kathryn Reed

It took expert mechanics at LTUSD to get the Fighting Chance vehicle rolling for the Sept. 6 parade. Photo/Lisa J. Tolda

It took expert mechanics at LTUSD to get the Fighting Chance vehicle rolling for the Sept. 6 parade. Photo/Lisa J. Tolda

Because most abductors try to gain the trust of their prey, children are taught in Fighting Chance to keep their distance from strangers.

Emmet Freeman, a junior at South Tahoe High School, went through the training when he was in elementary school. It likely saved him from something terrible when he was a fifth-grader.

A guy about 20 years old approached him, saying he’d lost his wallet. He asked Freeman if he would help find it and even offered him $5.

“My son said no. He got scared, jumped on his bike and pedaled hard,” recalled Angie Keil. “I don’t know what he was intending to do. You don’t know what would have happened.”

Police nabbed the suspect for other offenses, but no charges could be brought against him in the Freeman case because he didn’t do anything to the boy.

One point of Fighting Chance is to educate kids that they should not get close enough to a stranger to be grabbed — don’t take the money, don’t bend down to pet the cute puppy.

Fighting Chance was the brainchild of Brooke Laine when she was a member of Soroptimists International of South Lake Tahoe. It was in the mid-1990s, Laine’s sons were about 4 and 5 years old.

She started thinking about Terry Probyn and wondering how she was going to teach her kids to prevent another kidnapping in Tahoe. She tried to empower them, to explain that they have choices. But then her son, Nick, asked how his friends were going to know what to do.

Laine called Probyn to talk about the idea of putting Fighting Chance together in honor of Jaycee Lee Dugard, her daughter who was snatched from a Meyers bus stop on June 10, 1991, when she was 11.

Probyn is part of the video that is shown to students in Lake Tahoe Unified School District. After Freeman’s experience, he became part of the educational material, too.

On the video Probyn talks about how she is certain Jaycee Lee froze when the kidnappers approached her because she didn’t know what to do.

Seldom are victims randomly chosen. Most perverts stalk their victims, picking the ones they want. This is likely what happened with Jaycee Lee because the suspects’ vehicle was seen in the neighborhood days before the kidnapping.

“I started reading about pedophiles and child abductors. These guys are creepy, disgusting people,” Laine said. “The average child abduction takes less than 5 seconds. These molesters go to church, they sit next to you. They go to the grocery store. They don’t have horns or a big red sign.”

Fighting Chance is taught in grades 3-6. In sixth grade, youths are taught that if the suspect gets out of the vehicle, but they’re locked in, to take a button off a shirt and put it in the ignition.

Kick out a taillight if stuffed in the trunk. Cops in Tahoe know to pull over a vehicle with a busted out taillight just for the reason someone could be in there.

“We did lose a little bit of our innocence, but because of that I think parents keep a better eye on kids and Soroptimist started a Fighting Chance,” said Lt. Les Lovell of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department. “The sheriff’s office partnered with them and gave them a car so they can teach escape techniques.”

There is talk of bringing Fighting Chance, which is trademarked by Soroptimist, to younger kids.

Besides the Freeman incident, a couple other local kids were able to escape from some would-be kidnappers at Lakeside Inn at Stateline because they had seen the Fighting Chance video the day before the incident.

A couple years ago two girls walking in the Bijou area were approached by someone in a van who wanted to talk to them. They knew to stay far enough back so they couldn’t be grabbed. They also got a full description of the vehicle when it circled back by them.

Laine said it’s important for parents to not be afraid to talk to their kids about the scary things that are out. The most important thing is to give them the tools to get out of threatening situations.

Bijou Bash better than before

“It accomplished exactly what we were trying to do.”

Those are the words of Gary Moore, South Lake Tahoe Parks and Recreation director, in regards to Saturday’s Bijou Bash.

What had been an annual event that died out a few years ago was resurrected this year as an event whose focus was all about locals.

Despite a downpour late in the afternoon, all who attended seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Kids scampered up, in, on and around the massive pieces equipment brought out by the city’s Public Works Department. Daniel Hoeppner, 6, was most enthralled by the new street sweeper that has two steering wheels. His aunt had a hard time getting him to climb out of the big blue contraption.

Firefighters were giving out plastic hats — which Riley Sullivan, 5, and Dakota Thomas, 6, thought were styling.

Lots of kids were checking out the fire engines and police cars.

Marcia Sarosik (aka Miss Marcia) came prepared with a slew of dancers who enthralled the crowd.

Throughout the all-day fun fest were floor hockey demonstrations, the Tahoe Derby Dames bumping into each other, skater dudes doing tricks, dogs running around an agility course, and kids bouncing up and down.

Dog lovers brought their four-legged friends.

With the throngs of people streaming in via bike and being shuttled over from Lake Tahoe Community College, it proves events are what this town needs. Friends were catching up with each other, families were having fun at a free event.

KTHO — state park closures loom

Marguerite Sprague, executive director of Sierra State Parks Foundation, talks about proposed state park closures on KTHO 590-AM ( on Saturday at 10am. The show will be re-broadcast at 6pm Monday.

Sept. 18 is the date the governor’s office has picked to disclose the names of the 100 parks set to be closed. This represents more than one-third of the state parks.


Dugard’s classmates, others reflect on June 10, 1991

Memories of Jaycee Lee Dugard came pouring out at the Sept. 6 parade in South Lake Tahoe

Memories of Jaycee Lee Dugard came pouring out at the Sept. 6 parade in South Lake Tahoe. Photo/Lisa J. Tolda

By Kathryn Reed

Phones started ringing at 6am — Jaycee Lee Dugard was found alive.

Facebook posts have been rampant — some from those who went to school with her, others from people in the Lake Tahoe area, others from strangers touched by this 18-year ordeal.

Dugard being found alive after being kidnapped June 10, 1991, is an incredible tale. Although she and her 11- and 15-year-old children who were fathered by the accused abductor are the victims, the effects of that day have stayed with so many who lived in South Lake Tahoe at the time.

Her high school graduating class didn’t forget. The 1998 yearbook has a picture of Dugard.

“It feels personal in a way. It happened in our elementary school,” said Taryn (Huber) Sharpe, who was a fifth-grader in the classroom next to Dugard’s. “It was hard to grasp. It didn’t seem real. We thought we would see her again.”

She said the initial call from a friend the morning of Aug. 27 made her excited, but wary —  false sightings had gotten their hopes up in the past.

Now living in Bakersfield, Sharpe said some of her classmates feel guilty — the lives they’ve been able to lead while Dugard was holed up in a ramshackle compound without freedom and giving birth to her first child at age 14.

“It’s overwhelming what people have to say on Facebook, what feelings, how they remember it, where people were, what they were doing,” Sharpe said. “A lot of us are lost for words and don’t know what to say.”

Her church is talking about making a quilt for Dugard.

Stephanie Spees, who lives in Sacramento, was reminded of Dugard every time she saw a pink ribbon. Pink was Dugard’s favorite color. Dugard was wearing a pink windbreaker and pink stretch pants the day she disappeared. Pink ribbons were tied all over town — especially at the school. It was her favorite color.

“I remember the day it happened. The news crews were coming up to the school. Counselors were coming and talking to us” Spees said. “It was intense for being so little. I wasn’t allowed to go to the bus stop anymore. My mom drove me to school.”

That was a common reaction throughout the area.

“I grew up here as a kid and I let my kids take bikes to the store, go to the bus stop. We were always parents who felt very safe here,” said Kathay Lovell, who has four grandchildren growing up in South Lake Tahoe. “That day changed how we viewed safety for our children.”

At baseball games for her grandsons, ages 10 and 13, they aren’t allowed to go to the bathroom alone. All adults keep a lookout for strangers.

A generation later it’s common to see parents when the bus picks kids up and drops them off. Some were children when Dugard went missing.

Duane Wallace’s kids regularly had parental accompaniment at the bus stop because he was nearly abducted as a fourth-grader when he lived in Modesto. That incident has stayed with him.

“I can tell you with our own kids we were very careful. We were very protective,” Wallace said.

Karen Tinlin had the dual role of being a parent and principal of the school where Dugard was a fifth-grader.

“I used to let my kids play in the yard and never gave it a second thought. That summer I kept an eye on them like there was no tomorrow,” Tinlin said.

At the school in Meyers, which had just a few days left before summer break, it was a bit surreal. Pink ribbons were tied on the kindergarten fence. A plaque in honor of Dugard is still at the school.

Sue (Louis) Bush remembers everyone at the school being upset. She was Dugard’s teacher.

“None of the kids could believe this happened. It was a life experience for everybody involved,” Bush said.

Low lake level closes boat launch

Sand Harbor, one of Lake Tahoe’s most popular entry points, was closed to boat launching earlier this month due to falling water levels.

The ramp was closed to all motorboats but remains open only to carry-in boats like kayaks and canoes, said Jay Howard, supervisor of Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park.

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Dismal economy spurs shared living

INCLINE VILLAGE — Renting out a room in his home was both a financial necessity for Christopher Paulsen and a hedge against loneliness.

“It was like empty nest syndrome, and I thought I could use a few bucks to offset costs,” said Paulsen, 48, of Incline Village, whose youngest son left home last year.

Paulsen placed an ad on Craigslist and got many responses. He chose an AmeriCorps volunteer to take over the room for a year in his two-bedroom townhome in this small town at Lake Tahoe. “I don’t want to raise kids over again, but this means I have someone around the house and helps pay the bills,” Paulsen said.

He is one of many homeowners in a down economy who are making extra income by renting out rooms in their homes.

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