At the Lake: Golf cart incident results in major injuries |

At the Lake: Golf cart incident results in major injuries

Provided by the Tahoe Daily Tribune

At about 11:30 a.m. Saturday, two men were riding in a golf cart in front of Lira’s Market in Meyers, when the 25-year-old male driver “failed to observe a raised concrete curb,” according to California Highway Patrol Officer Jeff Gartner.

The collision with the curb ejected the 22-year-old passenger over the front of the cart. He was subsequently run over and dragged for 35 feet by the cart, Gartner said.

The incident caused major injuries to the passenger, “nearly severing” his right ankle, according to Gartner.

Although the driver, whose name was not released, allegedly admitted to being under the influence of alcohol at the time, the incident was not reported to police until approximately 5 a.m. Sunday morning, so his blood alcohol level at the time of the incident was not determined. The incident remains under investigation.

Heavenly Village’s Transit Center will soon add an educational component, with the opening in July of an interpretive center called “Explore Tahoe.”

The project, described as an “urban trailhead,” will be on the transit center’s ground floor and host exhibits detailing the importance of alternative transportation to the protection of Lake Tahoe’s natural resources.

The $1.4 million project has been funded primarily by the California Tahoe Conservancy, with assistance from the city of South Lake Tahoe, the U.S. Forest Service, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and South Tahoe Public Utility District.

Explore Tahoe’s location in the transit center was chosen because it will be the only public visitor information or interpretive facility within walking distance of the nearly 7,000 hotel rooms in the Stateline area, according to conservancy staff recommendations.

From the sound of it, the exterior design of the center should have no problems attracting visitors and residents alike.

“We have simulated a stream bed using crushed glass pavers in a mosaic pattern as you’re walking into the building,” said Debbie Vreeland, project manager. “Then, as you get into the building, glass fish and ribbons simulate being underwater and rising to the top.”

Once inside, visitors will be provided with information on recreational activities within the basin and how to access such sites via public transportation.

Interactive exhibits and presentations designed for children will also be part of the center.

Explore Tahoe was originally scheduled to open in January 2008. In an effort to reach a larger audience quickly, the center has been scheduled to open this July, according to Vreeland.

Although the project manager was hopeful for a Fourth of July weekend opening, the date remains tentative.

The Lake Tahoe Basin may not be home to as many ticks as other regions of California and Nevada, but tick-borne relapsing fever, a rare bacterial infection, has made its presence known around the basin in past years.

“There’s only a couple dozen cases reported around the country each year,” said Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, El Dorado County public health office. “Tahoe will sometimes have a good share of those.”

The single variety of hard tick responsible for Lyme disease cases originating in the West is relegated to milder regions, but the soft tick responsible for tick-borne relapsing fever has an affinity for high altitudes, tree squirrels and chipmunks, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Three reports of tick-borne relapsing fever came out of the basin last summer, and five in 2005.

No cases of tick-borne relapsing fever have been reported so far this year, but the risk increases as more summer residents and visitors return to the basin. Special attention needs to be paid to rodents and the ticks they carry in lodging that has not been occupied during the winter months.

“The only time humans ever get exposed to them is when they spend time in rustic cabins in mountainous areas like Tahoe,” Eberhart-Phillips said. “It’s when people come back to mountain cabins and summer vacation lodging, and rodents have moved in, that we present ourselves as new hosts.”

People often don’t know they’ve been bitten by the soft tick varieties responsible for tick-borne relapsing fever because they are nearly invisible to the naked eye and contact generally occurs at night.

“You’ll never even know they were there. They have a painless bite. It may be happening, we just don’t know,” Eberhart-Phillips said. “If you’re living in an environment where rodents are, you have to assume the ticks are there.”

Initial symptoms of the disease include fever, body aches, chills and sweats occurring in episodes over several days, followed by additional symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, confusion and dizziness. A seven-day regimen of antibiotics is generally effective in treating tick-borne relapsing fever. The disease is rarely fatal, but serious complications may result if it’s left untreated.

“The important thing to do is to rodent-proof buildings and really make sure the rodents are gone and to fumigate if rodents have been nesting.” Eberhart-Phillips said. “Prevention is the best thing here.”