A look back at 2023 from Carson Valley

With so much snow the ski resorts were closed, a skier made due with the pile out in front of the Genoa Country Store on Feb. 28, 2023.

With so much snow the ski resorts were closed, a skier made due with the pile out in front of the Genoa Country Store on Feb. 28, 2023.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.


A big blast of cold air from a Tonopah Low ushered in 2023 and turned anticipated flooding into 30 inches of snow in eastern Carson Valley. The county opened warming shelters as temperatures dropped into single digits and fallen trees affected power.

The storm was front page news for weeks, as flooding started to close Carson Valley roads and residents gathered to help each other dig out.

Bridge inspectors fanned out across the Valley to check on the many bridges while transportation officials dealt with the closure of Kingsbury Grade, Highway 395 in Holbrook and a rockslide on Highway 208 through Wilson Canyon.

A Kingsbury man was killed in December when a tree fell onto his house, it was reported in January.

A Stateline attorney was appointed over longtime slow-growth advocate Jim Slade to the Douglas County Planning Commission. The 3-2 vote put Paul Bruno on the board.

By the end of January, the drought was officially over after five of nine atmospheric rivers that struck the West Coast directly affected Western Nevada.

Fentanyl started taking over the opiate market, according to Sheriff’s Capt. Dan Britton. Seizures in the county went from a half gram to 266.5 grams over the course of five months. The Sheriff’s Office seized a total of 1,290 grams during 2022.

Eagles and Agriculture was able to take advantage in a break in the weather to conduct tours in the last weekend of January.


On Feb. 1, 2023, The Record-Courier opened its doors in Minden after more than 120 years in Gardnerville.

Hay dumped along East Valley Road drew wild horses down to the neighborhoods and resulted in 18 in the Fish Springs Herd being captured by the Bureau of Land Management.

Five students from Douglas High School’s academic team participated in the 32nd annual Science Bowl in Las Vegas.

The first inkling that the state was backing off from a plan to re-stripe Highway 50 down to three lanes was reported in February.

The release of the annual Gaming Abstract revealed that the Stateline casinos were employing 2,108 workers, less than a quarter of the 9,184 employees in 1991-92.

A woman who admitted participating in a fentanyl buy that resulted in exposing a Douglas County deputy was sentenced to 32 years in prison. Regina K. Rojas, 35, participated in an Oct. 20, 2022, buy.

As if on cue, an active shooter call occurred as Safe Schools Volunteers were at Douglas High School. The call was fake and the alert was lifted.

Work thinning trees around power lines at Kingsbury prompted complaints from residents and local officials. Logs from the trees were being stacked at a location off Foothill Road near Muller.

The private contractor operating Minden-Tahoe Airport gave its 90-day notice after 13 years anticipating termination of the contract at the end of the year.

The Douglas Tiger Band raise money to represent Nevada in the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington D.C.


A late winter storm sent employees home, shut down travel and dropped another foot of snow in parts of Carson Valley. Students on winter break had that extended another couple of days.

Two feet of snow in the Pine Nut Mountains set up locations on either side for flooding as spring approached. Centerville resident Julian Larrouy said it was the longest he’d seen snow on the fields.

Despite an injury that kept her off the court during her senior year, basketball star Camden Miller helped coach the Tigers and kept working to heal.

A Gardnerville resident spent six days stuck in the snow in his car near Big Pine with nothing but a dozen croissants and a margarine container he used to melt snow. Jerry Jouret was rescued by the California Highway Patrol after family members started looking for him.

Douglas County emergency managers anticipated a warm storm that would bring flooding. Water melting across the eastern part of Carson Valley prompted concerns about the dam at the Dangberg Pond.

Snow melt turned Double Spring Flat into a lake, affecting homes across the area, with some seeing their foundations erode away.

Kari Beckett Karwoski related the history of her great-grandmother Jane Ann Raycraft Campbell who was one of the ladies of Genoa who founded the annual Candy Dance.

Douglas High School culinary students cooked at the ProStart IInvitational Competition at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, bringing home a second place.

More than a dozen amateur and master gardeners greeted the long-awaited season with the annual Spring Forum & Expo Station at Gardnerville Station.

With Pine Nut Creek causing damage through Fish Springs a feasibility study for the stream was implemented that proposed the possibility of a dam.

Family and friends of South Lake Tahoe resident Omar Reyes Garcia, who was killed in a shooting on the casino floor of the Hard Rock Casino on March 25, raised money for his funeral expenses.


Douglas County commissioners approved a $61.8 million general fund tentative budget as they wrapped up budget hearings. The budget included around nine new positions.

A Double Spring couple was forced from their home after it was awash during flooding. Chuck and Maureen Self survived the Flood of 1997, but water backed up into the Pine Nut neighborhood.

Douglas County Manager Patrick Cates informed commissioners that he would be leaving on June 5 after four years. Cates was Nevada Department of Administration Director in December 2018 when he sought the job.

A senate bill to silence the Minden siren included a $50,000 per instance fine after a sponsor found out it was still being sounded after a previous bill was passed. The siren was associated with Douglas County’s sundown law.

The American Wild Horse Campaign acquired 3,335 acres of Bently land in the Pine Nut Mountains. The land will provide forage and water for the Fish Springs herd.

Douglas County Community Services Director Scott Morgan received the Nevada Recreation and Parks Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Morgan was only the second person to receive the award in the organizations 77-year history.

Douglas High School graduate Carli Kleist served as 2023 Miss Douglas County. Kleist competed at the Miss Nevada pageant in Las Vegas.

Douglas County deputies seeking a new contract got a boost from a fact finder’s report. The deputies had been seeking a new contract since theirs expired in 2022. The report brought the county and deputies close to a resolution.

Douglas High School Jr. ROTC cadets competed in a Raider Challenge against several other programs across Western Nevada.

A group of Clark County students toured Mormon Station State Historic Park. The nearly two dozen Mighty Miners from McCaw Steam Academy also visited Virginia City, the Nevada State Museum, the capital and Sand Harbor State Park.


Douglas High graduate and Gold Star Family Member Spc. Jake Evans was named Nevada’s 2023 Soldier of the Year at the Nevada Army Guard’s Best Warrior Contest.

Douglas High senior Jackson Davis was named Mr. DHS at the annual competition that includes a talent contest

The endangered Tiehm’s buckwheat is growing at a greenhouse to preserve it from lithium-born mining in southern Nevada.

The Holy Smokers Barbecue & Car Show saw a little sprinkle of rain as they kicked off the classic car season in Carson Valley. The following weekend saw Big Mama’s Car Show in Gardnerville’s Lampe Park.

A lands bill that would transfer 7,777 acres to Douglas County for public purposes and 2,669 acres was reintroduced in Congress. The bill has been in the works for a dozen years.

Class of 2020 Jump Start Valedictorian Mike Rubio collected two bachelor’s degrees when he graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in spring.

One of Rubio’s classmates, both at Douglas and UNR salutatorian Quincy “Sky” Russell was found dead in the quad two weeks before graduation. A celebration of life was May 22.

A capacity crowd turned out at a Douglas County School Board meeting over a proposal that would block the handful of transgender students from using certain bathrooms and locker rooms or participate in sports teams.

The Douglas High School softball team brought home the 5A state title for the first time since 1992 with a 25-game winning streak.

The owner of the Las Vegas Golden Knights purchased the former Bently Distillery in downtown Minden. Housed in the former Minden Mill the 113-year old building was constructed to serve the Virginia & Truckee Railway.

After a rough winter, residents across the county were pressing for road repairs, but the most serious issues were in the Topaz Ranch Estates General Improvement District which estimated damages of more than $5 million.


Jenifer Davidson was named Douglas County manager.

A man who tried to carjack a woman at the Smith’s was being sought for a homicide in Dresslerville earlier that morning. Derek M. Melendez was arrested in the case after he couldn’t figure out the ignition on the woman’s car.

A lot of water as a result of the winter contributed to a big mosquito crop in spring, prompting Douglas County Mosquito Abatement try and keep up with the snowmelt.

Firefighters gathered in Minden to celebrate the life of East Fork Battalion Chief Scott Fraser, who died May 17 after a massive heart attack.

The annual Pony Express re-ride made it through Carson Valley before the weather broke but was forced to divert north due to flooding around Fort Churchill.

Douglas High softball player junior Talia Tretton became only the second player in history to be named Gatorade Player of the Year. She is preceded by Shawn Estes.

After 15 years, Douglas County took over emergency management from East Fork Fire Protection District. The new emergency manager Kara Easton was hired at the end of April.

Presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis headlined the annual Basque Fry. DeSantis and former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt attended Naval Justice School together.

More than 300 Douglas County high school students graduated, and a dozen also received college degrees from Western Nevada College.

Minden glider pilot Gordon Boettger and co-pilot Bruce Campbell flew a record 1,898 miles, the longest glider flight in history. The pair were in the glider for 17 hours and 25 minutes.

The resort formerly known as Sorensen’s was renamed Desolation Hotel Hope Valley in the third name change in three years.


New power rates approved by the Public Utility Commission didn’t make much of a dent in electricity bills as the mercury climbed into the upper 90s.

A lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service over more than $85 million in damage caused by the 2021 Tamarack Fire was filed in federal court.

Pictures of the trash left behind at Zephyr Shoals beach in Glenbrook went viral after the Fourth of July where more than three tons of litter was left by celebrants.

Clearwinged grasshoppers were bouncing all over Carson Valley as a swarm chewed its way through people’s landscaping and left great green spots on windshields.

Topaz Ranch Estates General Improvement District Vice Chairman Dave Akola told county commissioners damage to the district’s roads was up to $7 million.

Reno attorney and failed candidate for governor Joey Gilbert was recruited to be Douglas County School District’s new legal counsel.

Carson Valley Methodist Church announced Latu Paea was only the third pastor for the church in 40 years.

A July 14 robbery at the COD Casino in Minden resulted in gunfire after a deputy pulled over the alleged robbers on County Road. Chase Hender-son and Andrew Toomey were arrested, and the money was recovered.

Carson Valley Health conducted a topping out ceremony for its expansion on July 15.

Minden Mill Distillery reopened for a brief preview after being closed since March 2022. The official reopening was Sept. 9.

Douglas County School Board President Susan Jansen admitted she used profanity during a July 19 board meeting where the board fired its for-mer counsel and hired Joey Gilbert.


Birds gobbling up grasshoppers and other insects in the fields south of Muller Lane may have started two fires when they hit power lines. At least one of the incidents prompted an outage.

Taming Pine Nut Creek would cost $78 million price tag that would include a $24.1 million dam at the top of the drainage.

A year after Larry and Casey Braun’s home was buried under a deluge coming out of Horse Thief Canyon the couple looked back on what it took to move back into their home of 19 years.

Minden was ranked as the top location in the West for relocating corporate headquarters, according to a consulting firm that specializes in help-ing companies find new spots.

The owner of the Houston Rockets purchased the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino at Stateline and renamed it the Golden Nugget. The sale closed on Aug. 25.

East Fork Fire Protection District approved a new training structure named for former Battalion Chief Scott Fraser.

About 130 people gathered in Minden Park to discuss what to do about the majority on the Douglas County School Board. The prospect of gathering 7,250 signatures from voters who actually cast ballots in the 2022 election hovered over the gathering.

President Joe Biden stayed at former rival candidate Tom Steyer’s Glenbrook home prompting national attention for Douglas County’s vacation home rental program.

Opponents to Douglas County’s vacation home rental ordinance field a ballot initiative seeking to ban rentals in Valley neighborhoods.

Douglas County began its strategic planning process with a workshop to brainstorm ideas about the county’s future.


A blast of moisture from Hurricane Hillary helped reduce the chances of wildfire and caused forest officials to lift restrictions.

The Pine Nut Mountains bright blue pinyon jay could end up being listed as an endangered species. Western Nevada College students conducted a study on the jay’s habitat.

With the approach of fall, Just A Drop owner Teressa Bennis looked back over her first season operating the farmers market in Heritage Park.

Jacks Valley Elementary School Head Custodian Randy Thiel was named the Distinguished Support Staff employee. Darcy Mcinnis was named dis-trict educator of the year and Principal Blaine Spires was distinguished administrator.

Members of the Airport Advisory Committee voted 7-0 to reject a five-year contract, starting the process that would bring the airport back under direct county management.

The last Reno Air Race took flight only to end in tragedy when two T-6 Texan pilots were killed on the final day. The race is seeking a new home after nearly 60 years.

The Topaz Ranch Estates General Improvement District board voted 3-1 to ask county commissioners to take over the district in the face of overwhelming repairs.

A man facing a federal homicide charge received the maximum 36-year sentence in an Aug. 14 carjacking attempt at a Gardnerville gas station. Derek M. Melendez allegedly shot and killed Dresslerville resident Eric Wyatt Jr.

Three bears, a mama and two cubs, attracted as much attention as the booths for the first day of Candy Dance. One of the cubs climbed a tree after being separated from his family but was reunited with a little help.


Whether Superintendent Keith Lewis would depart from his position with the Douglas County School District became the question that opened October.

A woman who admitted to 13 felony drug charges was sentenced to a life sentence with a minimum of 19 years in prison. Jessica Thomas par-ticipated in an Oct. 20, 2022, fentanyl deal that resulted in five deputies being exposed to the drug.

After a public airing, the Minden Town Board agreed that the siren that has been the topic of so much attention should remain silent.

Genoa lost its third manager in three years with the departure of David Qualls.

Minden-Gardnerville Sanitation District trustees approved the first sewer rate increase in 17 years.

Douglas High School students celebrated homecoming at Minden Park.

A Nevada State Police Highway Patrol trooper used his vehicle to stop a drunken wrong-way driver on Highway 395 near Johnson Lane. The trooper was credited with saving lives.


Superintendent Keith Lewis agreed to depart his position in charge of the Douglas County School District.

Douglas High School was listed as a four-star school by the Nevada Department of Education, coming in fourth among Western Nevada’s tradi-tional high schools.

Only days after separating from the Douglas County School District, former Superintendent Keith Lewis received two standing ovations and the Bill Henderson Citizen of the Year award at the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce Recognition Awards.

Veterans Day collided with Trick or Treat as Minden Elementary School students donated their Halloween candy to military service members who couldn’t be home for the holidays.

For the second time in 2023, Minden glider pilot Gordon Boettger and co-pilot Bruce Campbell completed the longest distance glider flight in the world.

The Nevada Department of Transportation Board of Directors officially took a proposal to restripe Highway 50 at Lake down to three lane. The proposal was protested vehemently by Tahoe residents.

More than 500 runners signed up for the annual Turkey Trot at Minden Park on Thanksgiving, with several dogs participating.


A proposal to repair a levee along the East Fork of the Carson River was estimated to cost $260,000. The levee protects almost 100 homes and Carson Valley Golf Course.

A decade after it was announced the East Fork Hotel would be demolished, members of e. Clampus Vitus erected a monument to its memory.

A $3 million medium term bond was approved to purchase fire apparatus and equipment for the East Fork Fire Protection District.

Carson Valley’s Christmas celebrations ran from fireworks to fire as Gardnerville, Minden and Genoa celebrated the arrival of the season.

Douglas County School Board trustee Tony Magnotta resigned in protest over what he described as poor treatment by the majority of the board.

A Washoe boy brought the Tribe’s history to his school to show why he had his hair long, something he was teased about in class.

The arrest of a China Spring Youth Camp counselor prompted questions as the camp begins a transition in management from the judicial branch to the county.

Douglas County approved seeking $51 million in financing to construct a new courthouse. The approval was just the first step in the process.

An act of the Legislature to increase teacher pay will result in a pay increase for teachers and educational support staff.


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