3 double winners at Tahoe Tennis Classic

Claire Perry of Incline Village serves as partner Sally Huttenmayer of Zephyr Cove stands ready to volley. The duo won the women’s 8.0 division. Photo/Provided

A record 245 players competed in the Tahoe Tennis Classic, which saw some incredible competition across the four days at Zephyr Cove Tennis Club.

While players came from 11 states, all the winners were from either California or Nevada. Now in its 35th year, this all doubles tournament brings out some of the best players in the region.

The finals were played on July 29 under smoky skies with little breeze.

Kurt Chan of Gold River and Kendall Homer of Sacramento won twice together. They beat David Harden of Gold River and Michael Kiskinen of El Dorado Hills 6-4, 6-7, 6-1 in the men’s 9.0 division. Then they prevailed over Dan Bohannon of Orange and Mark Peterson of Truckee of 7-5, 6-1 in the men’s 120 division – where the combined age of the partners had to be at least 120.

Ryan Johnston of South Lake Tahoe was also a double winner. In the men’s 10.0 it was revenge with partner Mohamed Irfan Lakdawala of San Francisco. Last year they finished second in that division. This year they beat Chris Evers of El Dorado Hills and Dave Hagiwara of Folsom 6-3, 6-3. In mixed 10.0 he paired with Kim Iliffe of Austin to easily handle Julie Chan of Gold River and Geoff Garrett of Rocklin 6-2, 6-2. Iliffe with a different partner won the mixed 10s last year.

Other results:

• Women’s 10.0: Jeanette Berry of Reno and Holly Tretten of Reno beat Iliffe and Holly Rittiman of Zephyr Cove 6-3-6-4.

• Women’s 9.0: Dianna Gillaspie of El Dorado Hills and Juli Hilton of Roseville beat Sophie Heerinckx of San Jose and Rittiman 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

• Women’s 8.0: Sally Huttenmayer of Zephyr Cove and Claire Perry of Incline Village beat Donna Kaneko of San Jose and Melissa Neal of Campbell 6-3, 6-0.

• Women’s 7.0: Liz Bissell of El Dorado Hills and Lorraine Segala of Palm Springs beat Barbara Cooper of South Lake Tahoe and Carolyn Wright of Zephyr Cove 7-6, 3-6, 6-2.

• Women’s 6.0: Sylvia Haro of Zephyr Cove and Jennifer Kerver of Reno beat Nancy Cumming of San Pedro and Jean Van Well of Incline Village 6-2, 6-3.

• Men’s 8.0: Ken Cutler of Truckee and Ray Fugitt of Carson City beat Duane Catania of Incline Village and Vincent Catania of Elk Grove 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

• Men’s 7.0: Thor Spargo of Fair Oaks and Murray Yoffee of Gardnerville beat Ronald Cauley of Minden and Ken Sigel of Seattle 6-1-6-0.

• Men’s 6.0: David Beronio of Stateline and Richard Brown of Vallejo beat Anders Chaplin of Stateline and Hal Cole of South Lake Tahoe 7-5, 7-5.

• Men’s 140: Hersh Herschman of Zephyr Cove and Tad Yukawa of Palm Desert beat Dominic Mushines of Genoa and Ross Rittiman of Zephyr Cove 7-5, 6-4.

• Mixed 9.0: Sara Pierce of South Lake Tahoe and Adam Turner of South Lake Tahoe beat Penne Burgess and Scott Gillespie 6-3, 6-2.

• Mixed 8.0: Fernando Quinones of San Francisco and Amy Warden of Modesto beat Dave Nostrant of Saint George, Utah, and Joyce Youngs of South Lake Tahoe 6-1, 6-4.

• Mixed 7.0: Katelyn Bump of San Jose and William Cesano of San Jose beat Alida Pohl of South Lake Tahoe and Spargo.

— Provided to Lake Tahoe News

Hot weather, land abuses fueling algal blooms

By Matt Weiser, Water Deeply

 The West is known for summer wildfires. Now it seems Western summers will be distinguished by another kind of flare-up: algae blooms.

This summer has witnessed an explosion of algae problems in Western water bodies. Usually marked by a bright green mat of floating scum, the blooms are unsightly and unpleasant for water lovers. More concerning are potentially toxic cyanobacteria often produced by the algae, which can be deadly to pets and livestock and cause illnesses in people.

These harmful algal blooms have popped up in freshwater lakes and streams for years. But in recent years they seem bigger and more widespread than ever, resulting in closed beaches, public health warnings and risks to drinking water in a few locations.

Blooms are even popping up in unlikely places, such as high-elevation mountain lakes.

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Caesars will start taking sports bets in two states

By Associated Press

Two Atlantic City casinos owned by Caesars Entertainment will start taking sports bets this week, and another two in Mississippi will do so in mid-August.

Caesars Entertainment tells the Associated Press its Bally’s casino in Atlantic City started taking sports bets this morning. Its sister casino in Atlantic City, Harrah’s will start taking sports bets on Wednesday.

The company says it soon will offer mobile sports betting, as well, although it did not set a timetable.

Caesars is the parent company of Harrah’s Lake Tahoe and Harveys.

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LTWC to show off animals at open house

On Aug. 4 from 10:30am-3pm, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, which has been serving the South Lake Tahoe community for 40 years, will once again open its doors to the public with its annual open house.

This is the one day of the year that people other than volunteers with the nonprofit organization are permitted on the grounds where the wild birds and animals are rehabilitated.

LTWC volunteers will guide visitors, describe the reasons the various wildlife are at the center, and relay the prognosis for their eventual release back to the wild. 

Renderings of the new facility off Al Tahoe Boulevard, which is under construction now, will be on display.

Retail items will be available, including Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care T-shirts and hats, posters, license plate holders and magnets along with LTWC and Li’l Smokey lapel pins.

Most of the wildlife will be on the “Bear TV.” There are 18 cameras so people may watch them as they play in their little world. Each cage will have a monitor outside to better see the wildlife inside. 

LTWC is a non-profit, tax-deductible organization and donations are welcomed.

The address is 1485 Cherry Hills Circle off of Elks Club Drive in Meyers.

What’s the value of a clean beach?

By Timothy Haab, The Conversation

Millions of Americans head outdoors in the summer, whether for a day at a nearby lake or a monthlong road trip. For environmental economists like me, decisions by vacationers and outdoor recreators offer clues to a challenging puzzle: estimating what environmental resources are worth.

In 1981 President Ronald Reagan issued an executive order that required federal agencies to weigh the costs and benefits of proposed major new regulations, and in most cases to adopt them only if the benefits to society outweighed the costs. Reagan’s order was intended to promote environmental improvements without overburdening economic growth.

Cost-benefit analysis has been so successful as a tool for policy analysis that every administration since Reagan has endorsed using it. However, it requires measuring benefits that are not “priced” in typical markets. Fortunately, putting a price on non-market environmental outcomes, such as safer drinking water and fewer deaths from exposure to dirty air, has proved to be possible, and highly valuable. These estimates help to make the case for actions such as cleaning up beaches and protecting scenic areas as parks.

What’s it worth to you?

According to a preliminary estimate from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, outdoor recreation adds $373 billion to the U.S. economy yearly. That’s 2 percent of our annual gross domestic product – more than agriculture, mining or utilities, and approaching the economic contribution of national defense.

Most policymakers and local communities measure the economic value of outdoor recreation through estimates like this, which calculate how much money it adds to local economies through direct expenditures. For example, vacationers rent hotel rooms, and their spending pays employee salaries and funds local investments through hotel taxes. Visitors to national parks pay entrance fees for park upkeep, and augment local economies through employee wages and other expenditures on food and services around the park.

But recreation decisions also reveal the value that people place on the environment itself. Outdoor destinations provide services, such as opportunities to swim or hike in unspoiled settings. If high levels of harmful bacteria close a beach I was planning to visit, I may choose to drive a longer distance to a beach with clean water. By quantifying such increases in time and out-of-pocket expenditures, economists can measure people’s willingness to pay for changes in environmental quality.

Funding beach cleanups

In one recent study, I worked with other researchers to estimate increased travel and time expenditures that people incurred to avoid trash and debris on 31 Southern California beaches. No one wants to go to a beach littered with hypodermic needles, plastic bottles and discarded fishing nets. But cleaning up marine debris is expensive, and it is hard for communities to recover the costs, particularly for public beaches with open access. Understanding the value of cleaner beaches can help build support for funding trash collection.

To measure the amount of debris, we hired workers to walk the beaches tallying quantities of trash. Then we surveyed Southern California residents about how often and where they went to the beach, which enabled us to correlate numbers of visitors at each beach with quantities of debris. Finally, using travel time and expenses for each visitor to visit each beach, we modeled the relationship between where they chose to go to the beach, how much they spent to get there, and the cleanliness of the beach.

Using this model, we found that visitors to these beaches would be willing to incur $12.91 in additional costs per trip if each of the beaches had 25 percent less debris. This translated into a total willingness to pay $29.5 million for action to reduce marine debris by 25 percent on these beaches.

Reducing harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie

Trash on beaches is mainly an aesthetic nuisance, but some resource problems are more severe. For example, warm weather often triggers harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie’s western basin. These outbreaks, which are caused by agricultural and urban phosphorous pollution, contain freshwater toxins that are dangerous to humans and animals. They can trigger beach closures, and sometimes even drinking water bans.

Using similar techniques to the California study, I worked with another group of economists to estimate the economic value of reducing outbreaks of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. To model the relationship between recreation and water quality, we combined satellite data on harmful algal outbreaks in the lake in the summer of 2016 with visit patterns from a survey of Lake Erie visitors. Once again, we used travel time to each visited site and out-of-pocket expenditures to get there to represent the price of a trip. Then we correlated the price of a trip with the location of the visit and the presence of harmful algal blooms.

Our results showed that reducing these outbreaks through a 40 percent reduction in phosphorous runoff to the Lake Erie Basin would save swimmers, boaters and fishermen $800,000 to $970,000 per year by reducing the need for them to travel extra distance to avoid algal blooms.

Just this spring, Ohio declared the western Lake Erie watershed to be “impaired” by algal blooms, meaning it does not meet federal water quality standards. Our study provides one measurement of Ohio residents’ willingness to pay for a cleaner lake.

Avoiding a major oil spill

People can choose different destinations to avoid dirty beaches or algae outbreaks. But in the case of large-scale environmental disasters, such as the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, vacationers are more likely to cancel their trips altogether.

In a study using survey data on canceled vacation trips to Northwest Florida in the year following the BP oil spill, I worked with other economists to estimate the decrease in economic value to Northwest Florida coastal towns. We found that the spill caused a 9 percent drop in trips to Northwest Florida beaches, causing total economic losses of $252 million to $332 million across the Florida panhandle. Those losses represent decisions to spend vacation time and money in places where there was less risk of encountering polluted beaches.

The Gulf coast stretches from western Florida to Texas and has numerous beaches and fishing towns, so this sum is probably just a small fraction of economic harm caused by the spill due to canceled travel.

The value of pricing nature

Contrary to some environmentalists’ fears, putting a price on natural resources has encouraged decision-makers to recognize that natural capital is finite. Before, it was easy to assume that they were free to exploit. Now economic valuation research can help decision makers answer questions such as how much damage the BP spill did to natural resources, and whether the benefits of the EPA’s Acid Rain Program exceeded the costs. Assigning dollar values to natural resources makes it possible to use the power of markets to design policies and regulations that benefit all.

Timothy Haab is a professor of environmental economics, the Ohio State University.

Fay-Luther trailhead improvements coming

The Fay-Luther trailhead in the Carson Valley will be closed Thursday and Friday.

Hiking access will available by using the Jobs Peak Ranch trailhead.

Qualcon Contractors will be fixing a 2,500-square-foot section area, including filling in potholes.

Carson Valley Trails Association is paying for the work.

Aggressive mountain lion in Desolation

By Benjamin Spillman, Reno Gazette-Journal

Backcountry ranger Shannon Maguire is used to seeing evidence of mountain lions in Desolation Wilderness.

But a report of a lion encounter went well beyond what Maguire considers typical for the popular hiking and backpacking area near Lake Tahoe.

Maguire said on July 15 hikers reported an odd feeling while hiking from Camper Flat to Middle Velma Lake.

Looking around, they spotted a mountain lion.

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Age not an obstacle in annual Tahoe tennis tourney

Zephyr Cove Tennis Club will be the site of the Tahoe Tennis Classic, July 26-29. Photo/Provided

By Kathryn Reed

Dominic Mushines is proving almost daily that tennis is a lifetime sport.

This week the 84-year-old is going to test his abilities when he competes in the 35th annual Tahoe Tennis Classic at Zephyr Cove Tennis Club.

“Younger guys can overpower me, but I have for my age pretty good reflexes and ability,” Mushines told Lake Tahoe News. “I am fairly fast on my feet for my age. I’ve learned to be patient on the court and not try crazy shots. I wait for the opportunity to make my shot.”

Dominic Mushines

With age comes patience, which can be an added bonus on the tennis court, especially against younger opponents.

It’s been a few years since Mushines has competed in a tournament or league. Today it’s more about playing with friends on a recreational basis.

In the four-day Classic, which starts Thursday, Mushines and his partner Ross Rittiman of Zephyr Cove are guaranteed two matches – just like the other 200-plus competitors. They are competing in the 140-plus division, meaning their combined ages are at least 140.

He’s happy to be playing with someone younger; hoping Rittiman does more of the running.

With the temperature supposed to be in the 80s this week, Mushines isn’t worried about the heat affecting him.

“I can wear the young guys out. They aren’t used to heat,” Mushines said. “You have to look for every little advantage you can.”

While he may not have been competing regularly, that doesn’t mean Mushines hasn’t been playing.

Mushines is able to play year-round because he lives at Genoa Lakes in the summer and in Palm Springs in the winter. The attorney isn’t sure the exact number of years he’s played tennis – 60 something – but he does make sure wherever he lives that a tennis court is nearby. The sport is that important to him.

Once a friend turned him onto the sport he has been playing it ever since. For years he lived in the Tahoe Keys neighborhood of South Lake Tahoe, and would often be found on the courts there.



·      Tahoe Tennis Classic – July 26-29

·      For more information, go online.

·      There is no fee to watch. This is some of the highest caliber tennis played on the South Shore.

·      This is the main fundraiser for the nonprofit Zephyr Cove Tennis Club Foundation.

Treating Tahoe’s West Shore trees

By Christina Restaino

Last winter marked one of the most severe flu seasons in recent memory. Thousands of people were hospitalized and many died. People with compromised immune systems such as the elderly or young children were hit particularly hard with the flu.

Lake Tahoe’s forests are no different.

Just as humans are susceptible to the flu when our immune systems are delicate, forests are more susceptible to pest infestations and other plights when trees’ immune systems are weakened by drought. Tahoe forests were clear-cut during the 1800s Comstock mining era. As a result, fire suppression and lack of management allowed these forests to become overly dense, making them even more vulnerable to fire, insects, and disease.

Lake Tahoe agencies have been working to combat this challenge for 15 years.

Since the Angora wildfire of 2007, agencies have treated more than 50,000 acres for hazardous fuels reduction. The largest project covered approximately 10,000 acres to reduce the fire risk in the wildland urban interface where the forest connects to neighborhoods. But there is more work to do, and resource managers at Tahoe are committed to restoring the health of forests throughout the basin. 

After five years of extreme drought, the West Shore is at particularly high risk of a high-intensity wildfire. A new approach has emerged to tackle this challenge and to target treatment of 60,000 acres from the lakeshore to the upper forest.

The Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership is working to improve the health of our forests in an area at high risk for wildfire. Multiple agencies and stakeholder partners are collaborating on how to boost the immune system of our forests. It started with an overall assessment of general forest health and resilience. The group is studying what optimal health looks like—how dense the forest should be, what healthy wildlife habitats look like, and what tree species are best suited for our forest.

Next, the group identified how far the West Shore forest is from optimal health. Out of this process emerged the Landscape Resilience Assessment—a comprehensive look at the values and services we derive from our forests and how far afield these are from desired conditions.

The Landscape Resilience Assessment found that a majority of the West Shore forest is at risk of high-intensity wildfire or beetle mortality, which usually follows drought. The assessment identified where the least-healthy, least-resilient areas are for forest density, wildlife, and fire risk. The partnership can now use this information to help target areas for improved resource management.

The Lake Tahoe West group is also working on a Landscape Restoration Strategy to outline and communicate the why and how of forest restoration goals and activities. Strategy development is occurring alongside a detailed, science-based modeling initiative to understand how different forest treatments affect attributes like fire risk, wildlife habitat, air quality, and water quality. This modeling work is considering landscape-level dynamics and will help the group sketch out solutions that match the scale of the problem. Partners will complete the Landscape Restoration Strategy in the fall of 2018 and project-scale planning will begin.

Lake Tahoe West has involved stakeholders and helped land management agencies partner with communities to find solutions to our most pressing problems. This collaboration will help forest managers create more resilient forests while improving recreation, wildlife habitat, and scenic quality. For more information, go online.

Christina Restaino is the forest ecosystem health program manager for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and leads the Interagency Design Team for Lake Tahoe West. This article was first published in the 2018 summer issue of Tahoe In Depth.

NCAA to study possible effects of widespread legal wagering

By Associated Press

The NCAA plans to study how the expansion of legalized betting could affect college athletics and member schools.

The NCAA announced Thursday it will create a working group of “subject matter experts” to assess areas such as officiating, NCAA rules, federal and state laws, and the use of integrity services. NCAA leadership has already called for federal regulation on sports betting. NCAA rules prohibit sports wagering by athletes and athletic department employees.

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