At the Lake: Pushing back ‘the shadows of evil’
It was a fitting tribute to the sheepherders.
The South Lake Tahoe Police Department awards ceremony on Wednesday was attended by South Shore dignitaries and others as six employees were celebrated and the family of a fallen soldier was honored.
Headed by Chief Terry Daniels for the first time, Daniels likened his officers to sheepherders protecting the flock from wolves.
“They strive to push back the shadows of evil,” he said.
The ceremony, on the lawn in front of the station, lauded two officers, Ray Poole and John George, for rescuing a man in July from a burning Ford truck that overturned in Carson Valley on their way back from work to Gardnerville.
The man was covered in blood and glass and gas as the two officers struggled but then eventually found a way to free him from the burning vehicle.
“It was like something you’d see in an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie,” Daniels said.
After other officers and employees were honored, representatives from the Sierra Nevada’s Blue Star Mothers of America provided banners to officers with offspring in the military.
Retired Sgt. Steve O’Brien received one for his son, Brian, while Officer Mark Allen received one for his two sons, Matthew and Bryan.
Blue stars represented each child in the military.
Sgt. Brad Williams received a flag with a gold and blue star. The blue star represented his son Justin, in the marines, while the gold indicated his other son, Brandon, a military police officer killed in Iraq last year.
“To be a gold star father is only an honor your son can give to you,” said Marge Greenfield of Blue Star Mothers.
Williams described it as a “powerful day.
“I wish Justin, my second son, could have been here,” he said.
The ceremony was held during the National Police Officers Week and marked the department’s 40th anniversary.
In addition, Daniels announced the department will receive, perhaps sometime this week, new badges for its officers depicting Mt. Tallac instead of a symbol of California.
Designed by officer Jeff Roberson, Daniels said the Mt. Tallac was chosen because it’s a predominant feature in South Lake Tahoe and holds “mystic,” “unique” and “special” qualities.
“It’s going to be our badge for our community,” Daniels said. “Soon.”
Opening Day at the Lake ” a kickoff for the summer tourist season at the South Shore ” could include closing Highway 50 through the casino corridor this year for a street festival, a tourism official said Wednesday.
A permit is still pending for the street closure, said Patrick Kaler, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.
But if everything goes as planned for the weekend of June 16 and 17, the street festival will include food and beverages, live music, street performers and a Hawaiian Tropics Ms. Nevada Pageant.
Like last year, Opening Day will include a sternwheeler race between the M.S. Dixie II and Tahoe Queen and a free geocaching event, a high-tech treasure hunt.
This will be the third year for Opening Day at the Lake.
“It’s going to be a great, fun, huge event,” Kaler said.
Kaler’s comments came during a public presentation at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa, where he gave an overview of LTVA activities to an audience of about 30.
Kaler said the LTVA will be focusing its marketing efforts on “destination visitors” who typically travel by air to get to Lake Tahoe and stay several days to a week.
Those visitors generally participate in a range of activities, spend more money and have less impact on the environment because they often don’t use cars while in town.
“These are the people we really ” over the long term ” need to pursue,” Kaler said.
In contrast, visitors who drive in from regions such as Sacramento or the Bay Area have been cutting their visits shorter than in the past, often staying for just one night. However, the LTVA won’t be ignoring that market, Kaler said.
On other topics, Kaler said the LTVA is writing a business plan for a “South Shore Sports Commission,” which would promote the area as an athletic venue for various tournaments and sport festivals.
And he hinted there might be a promotion in the future similar to last summer’s popular CeleBEARtion campaign, in which fiberglass bear statues were painted by artists and displayed throughout town.
Audience member Jerry Bindel, president of the South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association and an incoming LTVA board member, said after Kaler’s presentation that he was excited about plans for Opening Day on the Lake and the overall direction of the LTVA.
“It’s a professional organization with an eye on marketing,” Bindel said. “I’m very impressed with where we’re going.”