Archive | May, 2012

West Wendover JP Court May 29, 2012 Judge Reese Melville Presiding

Posted on 31 May 2012 by Howard Copelan

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Sign Of The Time, West Wendover JP Blasts Opponents

Posted on 25 May 2012 by Howard Copelan

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More than a month after his opponents did, West Wendover Justice of the Peace Reese Melville put up his signs and staked his claim to what could be a major campaign issue in the race for the bench.

“A lot of people thought I wasn’t running and asked me why I wasn’t putting up signs,” Melville said. “ I told them that I would as soon as I legally allowed to. City ordinance clearly states that no campaign signs are to be put up until 40 days before the election. I am just abiding by the law.”

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Both of Melville’s opponents Brian Boatman and David Wiskerchen began placing signs around town in April

When asked whether he was aware of the ordinance Boatman said he was but questioned the constitutionality of the ordinance since his signs were on private property.

The city has taken no action against either Boatman or Wiskerchen perhaps for that very reason.

“Really whether its constitutional or not should not be a consideration,” Melville argued. “Especially for someone who says he wants to be Justice of the Peace. Interpreting the constitution is way above our pay grade. Our job is to apply the law as written by city, county or state legislative bodies. Are there some ordinances I might personally disagree with? Sure there are. But I, or any other Justice of the Peace or Municipal Court Judge, do not have the power to throw out a case because we think the law is unfair or unconstitutional. And we (judges) certainly shouldn’t willingly violate an ordinance because we think it is unconstitutional. That is for a much higher court to decide.”

“Even if my opponents don’t,” he explained. “I will abide with the spirit and the letter of the ordinance even if it costs me the election.”

However Melville said he believed his strict adherence to city code should be an issue in the election.

“A local judge has a lot of power,” he explained. “We can issue warrants for searches, we can order arrests and we decide guilt or innocence. We are supposed to be bound by the code of judicial ethics and not disregard it because we don’t agree with it. I think the voters should ask themselves if they want to elect a man who even before he became judge ignored the law because it was inconvenient for him.”

Melville himself has had trouble with the Judicial Ethics Committee.

Last month the committee accepted the stipulation offered by Melville.

According to Melville’s attorney David Lockie the judge agreed to public admonishment for violating judicial conduct rules.

The stipulation says Melville made inappropriate remarks in the presence of witnesses about his former bailiff, Joel Torres, who was named in a criminal complaint alleging domestic violence. The incident happened three years before.

“Reese told me he didn’t even remember saying that,” Lockie said. “ But he also said he well may have. Judge Melville is a stand up guy. He never tried to evade the issue. And what he was accused of while against the rules did not result in any miscarriage of justice or subversion of anyone’s rights.”

“I don’t think it will necessarily hurt his chances of reelection,” said a local poll watcher. “Getting reprimanded for swearing about an accused wife beater is not all that bad. A lot of old school men and women might applaud him for it.”

While the alleged remarks were supposedly made in the fall of 2008, the formal complaint was only made in April 2011 two and a half years later.

Given the fact that Melville is up for reelection several sources close to the case speculated that the timing was not purely coincidental.

“Melville supposedly said something inappropriate,” said one source. “Instead of calling him on it then and there, they wait two and a half years to file a complaint? If the person filing knew anything about how long the average investigation takes, they would have known the result would come out around election time, convenient isn’t it?”

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Fratto’s Diary Won’t Save Patten From Life Without Parole Sentence

Posted on 25 May 2012 by Howard Copelan

Despite claims from Kody Patten’s attorneys there is little mention of Micaela Costanzo in Toni Fratto’s diaries and nothing to suggest it was Fratto and not Patten who planned the 16 year old girl’s murder according to a source close to the case.

“I think there is a line or two written about a year before the murder,” said the source. “And it is extremely vague just that she (Toni) hated or couldn’t stand her (Micaela). It was really no big deal and if it was a big deal don’t you think the DA would not have gone with the plea bargain he offered her (Fratto)?”

Fratto pled guilty this January in a plea bargain with Elko DA Marc Torvinen to one count of second degree murder with a deadly weapon enhancement in exchange for her testimony against Patten who was facing a possible death penalty for his lead role in the killing.

White Pine District Judge Dan Papez imposed the harshest sentences he could on the West Wendover teen of life in prison plus 20 years for Fratto’s part in the vicious killing last year of 16 year old Micaela Costanzo.

According to law Fratto must serve at least 10 years of her life sentence before she is eligible for parole and then at least eight years of the enhancement for use of a deadly weapon before she could see a release from prison. With her time already served in the Elko County Jail taken into account Fratto could conceivably serve just 17 more years in prison before she is released.

At the time of her sentencing patten’s attorney John Ohlson of Reno said that for from being a dupe following Patten’s orders, Fratto actually instigated the murder and that her diaries would prove it.

According to Ohlson the diaries were filled with hateful messages directed toward Mickie Costanzo that at least suggested that Fratto was an equal partner in Costanzo’s murder.

While Ohlson has not back off from his contention that Fratto got off relatively easy compared to his client the Reno attorney also endorsed his client pleading guilty to first degree murder to avoid the death penalty not once but twice.

The first time in late January which Patten back out of the deal at the eleventh hour may have actually spurred Fratto to cut her own bargain with the prosecutor. As part of her deal Fratto gave a devastating affidavit that if it foreshadowed her testimony could have easily put Patten on death row.

“Before she gave her affidavit the chances of Patten getting the death penalty were pretty slim,” said a source close to the case. “Yes the DA had the confession but the defense had some pretty good supposed mitigating factors as well as another defendant they could pin some of the guilt on who wouldn’t testify against Kody. After her plea and especially after her affidavit the all that change. That (the affidavit) is a death penalty affidavit.”

In a three and a half hour interrogation by Elko District Attorney Marc Torvinen, Fratto gave the prosecution evidence that could put Patten on death row. According to her attorneys Fratto told the District Attorney that Patten spent more than a week planning Costanzo’s murder to the last detail.

“The only thing they (Patten’s lawyers) have been talking about since even before Toni was sentence was her diaries,” the source continued. “They have been spending more than a year on looking for mitigation anything that could persuade first a jury not to give Patten the death penalty and now to persuade Judge Papez not to give him life without parole. That probably isn’t going to happen. The Judge has already said that this was the most vicious killing he has ever seen in all his years on the bench and has already given Fratto the maximum he could. So it is a pretty safe bet that Kody Patten will get life without.”

Patten will be sentenced July 30. His attorneys have noticed that they will need most of the working day to present their evidence for mitigation.

“It looks like they are going to put on a show.” The source said.

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Roland Twins At Top WWHS Class Of 2012

Posted on 25 May 2012 by Howard Copelan

Twin sisters Candy and Mandy Roland scored most of the top honors in West Wendover’s Graduating Class of 2012 including finishing in the top two.

Daughters of Francine and William Roland, the girls will give commencement speeches in next week’s graduation ceremony.

“We are so very, very proud of them,” said mother Francine a second grade teacher at Wet Wendover Elementary.

In addition to stellar grade points the two sisters also racked up a very impressive list of scholarships. Miranda won a $2,000 Next Dollar Foundation Education Grant; a $1,000

Graymont Western US Pilot Peak Scholarship; a $2,000 Newmont-North America Scholarship; a $250 Spirit of Friendship Scholarship (Honoring the life of Micaela Costanzo); a $4000 Peppermill Scholarship, a $10,000 Southern Utah University Alumni Legacy Award and a Luke Joseph Gregory Memorial Scholarship.

Cassandra was awarded a $250 Spirit of Friendship Scholarship (Honoring the life of Micaela Costanzo); a Luke Joseph Gregory Memorial Scholarship and a $2,000 Newmont-North America Scholarship.

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WWHS Men To The Navy

Posted on 25 May 2012 by Howard Copelan

Two graduating senios from West Wendover high will be sailing the seven seas as members of the United States Navy.

Kaelen Evens and Brant Davis will be reporting for duty soon after school is out to the Recruit Training Command Great Lakes.

The center is the command within the United States Navy primarily responsible for conducting the initial orientation and training of new recruits. It commonly is referred to as boot camp, recruit training, or informally “Great Mistakes”. The course is approximately eight weeks long. All enlistees into the United States Navy begin their careers at the command, as do a select number of officer candidates. Upon successful completion of basic training, qualifying sailors are sent to various apprenticeship, or “A schools”, located across the US for training in their occupational speciality, or ratings.

Those who have not yet received a specific rating, enter the fleet with a general designation of airman, fireman, or seaman. Recruit Training Command is located at Naval Station Great Lakes in the city of North Chicago, Illinois in Lake County, north of Chicago. It is a tenant command, meaning that although it is located on the base, it has a separate chain of command. Since the closure of Recruit Training Commands in Orlando and San Diego, Great Lakes is the only basic training location in the Navy, and has been called “The Quarterdeck of the Navy,” since it was first utilized in 1911.

Since the first graduating class in 1997 over two dozen West Wendover Graduates have joined the military giving the school one of the highest per capita enlistment percentages in Nevada.

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WWHS Senior Vanesa Dorado Wows With Art

Posted on 25 May 2012 by Howard Copelan

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Not Cool Barry

Posted on 25 May 2012 by Howard Copelan

When our daughter was 17 we bought her a trip to Israel with a youth group. And as her departure date neared she confided in us she was nervous that her peers would think she wasn’t cool.

“There are going to be all these kids from really cool places like New York City and Los Angeles. And then there is me from dorky tiny West Wendover?,” she said. “Everyone will think I am a hick. Maybe I can make up some place cooler to be from?”

“Don’t worry,” we replied. “First we think you are pretty cool and second you are probably the only varsity cheer leader in the group.”

“Oh that is so lame and I am not going to tell anyone I am a cheer leader,” she wailed. “That is so uncool its pathetic, a cheer leader from Hicksville, USA. Why can’t we be from some place exotic?”

“Sweet heart believe me where you are going Hicksville, USA is exotic,” we said. “Kids from Manhattan and Hollywood are a dime a dozen in Israel. But no one is from Wendover let alone a cheer leader. Besides lying is really hard work. Being yourself is easier even if it isn’t cool.”

It is apparent from Barack Obama little bio on his publisher’s page that he never had that conversation with anyone or it never sunk in.

Yes we know everyone is ready to fall on their own sword claiming that is was their fault that our current president was described as being ‘“born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.’

Anyone in the publishing business knows that these pieces of fluff are mostly written by the author themselves and if not authored by the author then fact checked with them. The number one reason why they are written at all is to make the author sound interesting that is “cool”. And face it being ‘“born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.’ is pretty damned cool. It would also disqualify him from serving as president but still we might think about shelling out $20 for a book written by someone ‘born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.’

By the way this “fact checking error” was not a one off oops, his ‘“born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.’ remained until 2007.

While we are still leaning toward the fact that he was born in Hawaii, his author bio does indicate a far more serious problem. Our president was willing to lie to sell a book or at least willing to lie to be cool.

For a 17 year old girl thinking about making up a cooler place to be from to impress people is forgivable. Obama was 30 when the African birth was first claimed and 46 when it was corrected.

By that time he should have been comfortable in his own skin not to have to invent an African birth.

On the other hand the relentless pursuit of being cool is a pretty fair way to describe the last three years of the Obama administration.

Sure this country is in a mess but damn he looked so cool in getting us there we hardly noticed.

The only problem is that now at 50 it is harder and harder to be cool.

We know, we gave up at 35.

Seeing him now speaking in front of half empty arenas is kind of sad.

Like the aging hipster in the club Obama is almost pathetic, Kenyan birth or no Kenyan birth.

As for our daughter, it turned out we were right for once in our lives.

She was the super cool kid from the exotic place in the Nevada Outback.

She even took her cheerleader uniform with her when she went to college in Jerusalem because no one at school ever saw one except in the movies.

Now that is pretty damned cool.


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WWHS Scholars

Posted on 25 May 2012 by Howard Copelan

Miranda Roland:Next Dollar Foundation Education Grant – $2,000

Graymont Western US Pilot Peak Scholarship – $1,000

Newmont-North America Scholarship – $2,000

Spirit of Friendship Scholarship – $250 (Honoring Micaela Costanzo)

Peppermill Scholarship – $4,000

Southern Utah University Alumni Legacy Award – $10,000

Luke Joseph Gregory Memorial Scholarship – $50

Jacquelyn Giovo: Robert Z. Hawkins Foundation Scholarship – $1,000

Peppermill Scholarship – $5,000

Boise State Gem Scholarship – $11,440

Denisse Gil: Greater Nevada Credit Union Scholarship – $1,000

Peppermill Scholarship – $4,000

Stevens-Henager College – $7,000

Mackenzie Graham: Luke Joseph Gregory Memorial Scholarship – $500

Peppermill Scholarship – $1,000

Cassandra Roland: Spirit of Friendship Scholarship – $250 (Honoring Micaela Costanzo)

Luke Joseph Gregory Memorial Scholarship – $50

Newmont-North America Scholarship – $2,000

Heidi Thompson: Luke Joseph Gregory Memorial Scholarship – $50

Peppermill Scholarship – $1,000

Taylor Corona: Nevada State Fire Association Scholarship – $1,000

Luke Joseph Gregory Memorial Scholarship – $50

Mayra Dorado: Warde Dixon Scholarship – $1,000

Christian Anderson: Luke Joseph Gregory Memorial Scholarship – $50

Vanesa Dorado: Elko County Art Scholarship – $1,000

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WHS & WWHS Graduates

Posted on 25 May 2012 by Howard Copelan

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West Wendover JP Court May 22, 2012 Judge Reese Melville Presiding

Posted on 24 May 2012 by Howard Copelan

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May 22, 2012

Noe Romero-Mendoza/Criminal Arraignment/No Valid License

Noe Romero-Mendoza/Criminal Arraignment/DUI – First Offense  Lighted Lamps

Paul John Castello/Citation Arraignment/No Valid License

Miguel A. Hernandez-Morales/Citation Arraignment/No Valid License

Don Lee Johnston/Criminal Arraignment/Destr of Priv Prop or Disturbing the Peace

Michael Ben Stratton/Criminal Arraignment/Interference with P.O.

Rafael Cuevas/Criminal Arraignment/DUI – Second Offense  Lighted Lamps  Open Container

Julio Cesar Rodriguez-Castro/Citation Arraignment/No Valid License

Linda D. Vaughn/Citation Arraignment/No Valid License

Diane Kaye Compton/Citation Arraignment/Brake Light Req. (FIXED)  $50 Late Fee

Stacy Osborne Beall/Show Cause Hearing/DUI – First Offense

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