At the Lake: School board seats up in the air
Should I stay or should I go?
With three seats on the Lake Tahoe Unified School District Board of Education up for election in November, only one of the three who occupy the seats have answered the question above.
Barbara Bannar, president of the board, said she will seek re-election. Sue Novasel hasn’t made up her mind but gave herself a deadline of July 16, the date when the candidate filing period begins.
“I just don’t really want to commit either way until it’s closer to the time,” she said.
Hal Cole was just appointed to the board this month to fill a vacancy left by Doug Forte, who resigned for personal reasons. In his interview with board members, Cole, a former South Lake Tahoe City councilman, said he will need time to assess the board in determining whether to run for election.
Bannar was conflicted since her husband, Dr. Stephen Bannar, will become the chief-of-staff at Barton Memorial Hospital. She was considering if being on the board, if re-elected, for another four years would unduly impact her family. She has a son and a daughter. Both are in middle school.
“I would love to continue on with the school district because I feel we’ve made a lot of progress,” Bannar said. Then, in the next breath she says: “The school district unfortunately isn’t my entire world.”
After a tense start on Wednesday, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board agreed to once again hear arguments surrounding the future of Heavenly’s embattled North Bowl at their next meeting in April.
Three board members’ request to reconsider the Feb. 28 decision approving the construction of a new high-speed quad through a stand of large red fir trees was a driving force behind the board’s decision to re-hear the plans. A statement issued by three basin environmental groups questioning the validity of last month’s meeting was also a factor.
Reasons behind the board members’ reconsideration request included the lack of full board participation in the vote and technical difficulties experienced by board members taking part in the meeting by phone.
Following talks with TRPA’s legal committee prior to Wednesday’s meeting, Mara J. Bresnick, a board member behind the request to scrap the decision said she would be satisfied with a rehearing.
“We will withdraw our request for reconsideration on the condition that the motion for rehearing passes,” said Bresnick.
The decision, at least for now, avoids a possible lawsuit stemming from Sierra Nevada Alliance, Tahoe Area Sierra Club Group and League to Save Lake Tahoe’s claim that February’s meeting violated California’s public meeting law, known as the Brown Act.
Although TRPA legal counsel Joanne Marchetta hinted the Brown Act may not be applicable to an agency that has generally been subject to Nevada’s open meeting laws, she recommended the board members approve Bresnick’s motion.
“I am recommending to the board that you re-hear the Heavenly master plan as a courtesy and accommodation to the public,” Marchetta said in a press statement.
The month it would take for a TRPA rehearing, compared to the years of litigation that could ensue if environmental groups pursued their assertion concerning the legality of February’s meeting, was also preferable to Marchetta.
An unsavory position TRPA board members often face concerning legal actions was highlighted during the meeting before the vote was taken.
Governing Board member Jim Galloway called Heavenly officials up to the microphone at one point to see if the board wasn’t setting itself up for legal challenges from Heavenly in calming the potential litigation from environmental groups.
Since Heavenly’s master plan had already been approved by the start of Wednesday’s meeting, Galloway was concerned that the way in which the board decided to rehear the resort’s proposal could also come under legal scrutiny.
Blaise Carrig, chief operating officer of Heavenly Mountain Resort, remained confident in the merits of the master plan amendment and wasn’t interested in getting “hung up on the process” surrounding the document.
“We would support any decision the board makes,” said Carrig.
Supportive of this particular Governing Board decision, environmental groups have reason to celebrate, at least for the time being.
“We think it’s great that the board has shown it’s committed to have fair and open public meetings,” said Autumn Bernstein, spokeswoman for Sierra Nevada Alliance. “We’re happy the board is taking it seriously.”
The Dayton High softball team recorded its second win over a South Shore opponent in as many days, shutting out Whittell 10-0 in six innings on Wednesday in Dayton.
The Dust Devils, who beat South Tahoe 5-4 on Tuesday, limited the Warriors offensively. Joan Browne hit a double and advanced to third but no other Whittell player threatened to score.
The Warriors (9-3) begin Northern 2A play on Saturday with a doubleheader against Lovelock at Lampe Park in Gardnerville.
Whittell met one of the top 3A baseball teams in Dayton on Wednesday, and the Warriors won’t be looking for a rematch anytime soon.
Dayton cruised past the Warriors 24-0 in a four-and-a-half inning nonleague game.
“They are an extremely good 3A team. They hit the ball very well, but we can’t seem to catch it,” said WHS manager Don Amaral.
The Warriors committed 10 errors , leading to 14 unearned runs. Four Dust Devil pitchers combined in the no-hitter, allowing only two baserunners.
Amaral, though, was pleased with the progress of catcher Sam Harris. Whittell (2-7-2) will play a makeup game against Coleville today at 3 p.m. at Lampe Park.