Archive | October, 2012

West Wendover Justice Court October 30, Judge Reese Melville

Posted on 31 October 2012 by Howard Copelan

 WEST WENDOVER MUNICIPAL COURT

EASTLINE JUSTICE COURT

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

9:00 a.m.

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CASE NO. DEFENDANT TYPE O  CASE INT CHARGE(S) FORMAL PLEA ENTERED
MC-CR-M-12-5746 Sione Uasi Filimoeatu  Formal Cr. Arraignment Trespassing
MC-CR-M-12-6013 David Lee Shutler Formal Cr. Arraignment Trespassing  
MC-CR-M-12-6014 David George Hoot Formal Cr. Arraignment Trespassing;Disturbing the Peace
MC-CR-M-12-5991 Shane McCook Formal Cr. Arraignment Interference with Peace Officer; Disturbing the Peace
JC-CR-M-12-5943 Stephanie May Nielsen Formal Cr. Arraignment Battery, or in the alternative, Disturbing the Peace
JC-CR-M-12-5918 Teofilo Manuel-Darosa Serpa Formal Cr. Arraignment No Valid License 
MC-CR-M-12-5919 Teofilo Manuel-Darosa Serpa Formal Cr. Arraignment First Offense DUI; Failure to Properly Display Tail Lights
MC-CR-M-12-5912 Ronnie Allen Lobach Formal Cr. Arraignment First Offense DUI; Speeding; Open Container
JC-CR-M-12-5920 Manuel Alvarez Formal Cr. Arraignment Domestic Violence, or in the alternative, Battery
JC-CR-M-12-5405 Antonio Andre Sanchez Formal Cr. Arraignment Domestic Violence, or in the alternative, Battery
JC-CR-M-12-5867 Manuel Murillo Formal Cr. Arraignment Second Offense Domestic Violence, or in the alternative, Battery
JC-IN-TR-12-6032 Amanda L. Glasgow Citation Cr. Arraignment No Valid License 
JC-IN-TR-12-5962 Tony Jimenez Torres Citation Cr. Arraignment Speeding 
MC-CR-M-12-4928 Michael Anthony Bolding Status Hearing First Offense DUI  X
JC-CR-M-10-0614 Robert William Halstead Status Hearing Second Offense Domestic Violence X
JC-IN-TR-11-3964 Tryston Michael Thomas Status Hearing Possession of Marijuana  X
JC-CR-M-06-0132 Eli Andy Sireech Show Cause Hearing Domestic Violence  X

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Emily Is Pinocchio, Casey Is Mighty

Posted on 26 October 2012 by Howard Copelan

While most West Wendover candidates stuck mostly to the facts in Monday’s candidates forum, mayoral challenger Emily Carter told two huge whoppers to win that evenings Pinocchio award.

The first was Carter’s implication that Mayor Donnie Anderson broke a campaign promise to bring a hospital to Wendover during the last campaign four years ago.

“I never made that promise,” Anderson said Wednesday night. “I did say that the $10 million on the new city hall could have been used for more worthy causes like getting a small urgent care center. And I still stand by that statement.”

A search of the Advocate’s archives supported Anderson’s contention that no hospital promise was ever made by Anderson or anyone else during the campaign of four years ago in either political ads or statements in news stories.

Carter’s second nose was earned by her claim that during her reelection bid two years ago Advocate Publisher Howard Copelan called her names during a candidates forum the newspaper hosted.

That also was not true. Carter did not attend that forum.

“Maybe she misremembered,” said Copelan. “But she simply was not there. We have never attacked her personally although we have criticized her for her actions and votes as a councilwoman particularly over the City Hall and for the Rusty Palms and for what many perceive as her antibusiness agenda.”

Wendover_Peppermill_Sraight_10.25×19.5

The Advocate story run October 29, 2010 read:

All three incumbents the so called Peppermill Councilmen were no shows at the Advocate’s Candidate forum Tuesday night.

“They (Emily Carter, Allan Rowley II and Roy Briggs) were all notified by phone and e-mail,” said Publisher Howard Copelan. “At least two said they were coming, I guess they lied.”

Two other candidates Bosco Pereira and Beth Bellio also did not attend but did inform the publisher two days before the forum that both would be away from Wendover on personal business.

“Too bad they missed it,” Copelan added. “But the video of it is up being webcast now. It is one of the more popular current items on our page in just 24 hours it has been downloaded 40 times, not bad for an hour long political video.”

The five candidates who did make the forum answered ten questions regarding West Wendover budget, business climate and their plans for the future. To see the video of the event go to www.coyote-tv.com.

Monday’s candidate forum where Carter made her charges can be seen in its entirety at: http://www.clipsyndicate.com/video/playlist/25624/3810474?wpid=10912.

While Carter’s unique take on history may have cause mild outrage and eye rolling, it was council candidate Casey Snyder who came out head and shoulders above the rest for the night from his opening statement reprinted below the owner of the Wendover ambulance service pulled no punches and gave no quarter.

Some of you who’ve met me, it’s been under less than ideal circumstances.  I’ve been invited into your home to care for you or your loved ones in your time of need, and for that I am humbled and honored.

For those who’ve not met me, I not only manage the ambulance service, I am actively involved in caring for our patients, too.  I believe when you’re tasked with managing and overseeing an operation, large or small, the best approach is to be directly involved, hands-on.  It allows you to engage with your employees, be there side-by-side with them.  Know what’s working, what needs changed, and what doesn’t work.  Simply managing from an office, behind a desk, looking at reports causes you to lose touch with what’s really happening.

Before moving to Wendover, I owned a computer and networking business.  I contracted with an agency of the federal government for 8 years, providing support for their information technology systems.  After that, my wife and I started an adult probation business.  We alleviated the workload on the state’s corrections system by providing supervision of adult offenders.  After selling our probation business, I moved to Wendover in 2007 to manage the ambulance service.

• I’ve watched the city build the Taj Mahal.

• I’ve seen new business come to town and fold, never opening their doors, due to the city

• I’ve watched the city’s workforce take pay cuts, and the public works dept. lose employees

• I’ve seen the city spend tens of thousands of dollars to recruit a CFO, only to end up hiring a friend of the council.

• I’ve watched the council bring shame and embarrassment to the city through blatant ethics violations, and those same council still serving today.

• I’ve seen the city send “extortion” letters to Newmont, only to bring shame and embarrassment upon the city regarding water issues with Big Springs.

• I’ve watched the city threaten my business, the ambulance service, directly with bullying tactics of taking over the ambulance service.

• And, of course, the latest saga is seeing the city attempt to get into the gas business by buying the troubled Wendover Gas Company.

While certainly the most impassioned Snyder’s criticism of the city was echoed by Mayor Donnie Anderson and fellow council candidate Gerado Rodriguez.

Almost running as a challenger rather than as an incumbent Anderson has continually blasted the city council led by Carter as being anti growth and for wasting money on so called beautification projects.

But while earning the title as Mayor veto, Anderson has much more often than not been on the losing side of the veto override vote.

His one victory, against the city bailout of Wendover Gas came not by a stroke of the pen but rather in a series of telephone calls.

Anderson thwarted at least temporarily the city’s takeover of the financially trouble Wendover Gas Company by making a half a dozen phone calls.

With the item on the agenda calling for the immediate takeover of the company on an emergency basis, Anderson along with councilman Izzy Gutierrez, his only political ally on the council called over a half a dozen local and regional propane suppliers to determine if private enterprise could come to the rescue rather than the publicly funded city takeover.

“I saw this as kind of a back door effort by some to buy the gas company,” Anderson said. “And I also wanted to see that if there really was a crisis coming and the city was the only option. We must have made at least a half a dozen if not more phone calls and every single company we contacted said they were willing and able to supply Wendover Gas Company customers should it go bankrupt.”

After Anderson and Gutierrez presented their findings to the council the item was tabled but not before harsh words were exchanged between Anderson Wendover Gas Company owner Nancy Green and councilmen Johnny Gorum and Emily carter.

Both Gorum and Carter have pushed for the city bailout of the Wendover Gas company, estimated to cost between $2 million to $2.5 million. Anderson has vigorously opposed the idea, going so far to veto a feasibility study earlier this year. The veto was overridden but the mayor made his point clear.

“I don’t like to see any local business fail,” he said. “But I don’t think the city should be in the business of bailing out failed companies. I sympathize with Nancy and a lot of her problem were caused in part by the city but tax payers money should not be used to bail her out. There is no crisis, if she goes under there are companies ready to come in to service her customers.”

 

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Perea Back In Election? SNWA Dirty Trick?

Posted on 26 October 2012 by Howard Copelan

The White Pine County Commission tabled the resignation of Gary Perea Wednesday following a reversal of sorts from the Nevada Gaming Commission.

White Pine County Commissioner Gary Perea was forced to resign two weeks ago following a ruling from the Nevada Gaming Commission that the two term commissioner could not serve as a county commissioner and hold a gaming licensee.

“It took them eight years to notice,” Perea said. “The investigator assigned to my case I had to resign and I have to suspend my campaign. He also said that I could apply for a waiver that would cost $18,000 and that even if I left office immediately I would be liable for a fine. My name will still be one the ballot but along with it will be a note that I must decline to serve.”

Perea owns the Border Inn in Baker Nevada, a small tourist hotel that also sports a tiny casino and bar.

But while investigators told Perea one thing, their boss Frank Streshley said quite another in an interview with the High Desert Advocate.

“All Mr. Perea has to do is not to be apart of the operations at his property that would conflict with his being on the county commission.” Streshley said.

Perea confirmed that as of Wednesday he also had been told that he no longer needed to either resign or to withdraw from the upcoming election.

“I was told that all I needed was a letter from our district attorney that I was not in violation,” he said somewhat confusedly.

One of the most active White Pine Commissioners Perea was one of a handful of reformers that brought the county out of bankruptcy eight years ago and back into solvency. He also led the fight against the Las Vegas water grab and several sources speculated that the sudden interest in his 40 slot machines was politically motivated by the Las Vegas dominated Gaming control Board.

While any direct links between the SNWA and the gaming investigation have yet to be found the nature and the timing of the investigation has certainly raised eye brows in White Pine County.

First elected in 2004 Perea has had to undergo yearly audits by gaming investigators who knew of his political position as a White Pine County Commissioner. With his name on the county letter head his employment on record with the state Perea made no attempt to hide either where he worked or what he owned.

And while Perea was told to resign immediately, another elected official in White Pine county, Ely City Councilman Shane Bybee was not even targeted by the gaming board even though he has a gaming license and is in the same territory of the investigator as Perea.

“I have been in charge of gaming Tax and License for three and a half years,” Streshley added. “And I have never seen this type of investigation before.”

Even before the sudden reversal of Perea fortunes there was a movement underway to draft the Commissioner in the up coming election.

In a half page ad Perea backers are urging voters to reelect the two term Commissioner any way to at least keep the seat in the Democratic Party if nothing else.

“Rumors have been circulating in our community that with the unfortunate and untimely resignation of Gary Perea from the White Pine County Commission, his opponent Mr. Richard Howe will automatically be elected the next Commissioner for SEAT 4.

These rumors are false!” Reads the ad.

“Mr. Perea is still on the ballot.  Under NRS 2931.??A withdrawal of candidacy for office must be in writing and must be presented by the candidate in person, within 7 days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, after the last day for filing, to the officer whose duty it is to receive filings for candidacy for that office.  If a candidate does not withdraw within the 7 days of filing for office, they remain on the ballot.

If Mr. Perea wins the election, and cannot accept the duties of the office, the office will be declared vacant under NRS 245.150  Certification of vacancy to Secretary of State.  Within 10 days after a vacancy has occurred in any county office, by resignation or otherwise, the clerk of the board of county commissioners shall certify the fact of such vacancy to the Secretary of State.

The Governor will then appoint a new Commissioner of the same political party as Mr. Perea.”

Now with the apparent about face from Gaming Perea may well re-enter the race to win it.

However given the damage already done there are serious doubt whether Perea can win.

“If Gary really did not have to resign then Gaming owes him and the people of White Pine County an apology,” said a draft Perea movement organizer Dean Baker.

 

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Semi Pile Up On Pequops, Jersey Wall Saved Lives

Posted on 26 October 2012 by Howard Copelan

The newly installed Jersey Wall is being credited with reducing damage and possibly saving lives after a three semi pile up closed Interstate 80 on the Pequop Mountains four hours Monday evening.

According to Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman Jim Stewart  a wind gust contributed to the first crash

Sahaj Singh, from Turlock, was traveling west bound on I-80 half way down Pequop when he lost control of his truck trailer.  Singh said a gust of wind contributed to the crash.  The semi jackknifed and blocked both wet bound lanes.

A second commercial driven by Eileen Piehl, Aberdeen, SD came upon the accident, pulled over to the right shoulder and was warning motorists on her CB radio of the accident.

A third commercial vehicle driven by George Soriano, Tracy, CA came upon the accident, and Soriano tried to avoid collision with the parked semi and jackknifed semi.  He hit the right guard rail, then hit the trailer of the parked semi and jackknifed.  His trailer also blocked the west bound travel lanes and part of the east bound lanes.

Minor injuries were reported on all drivers. However according to Stewert the pile up could have been much worse.

“I don’t think there is any question that the Jersey Wall contained the accident and may have saved lives.

A Jersey barrier or Jersey wall is a modular concrete barrier employed to separate lanes of traffic. It is designed to minimize vehicle damage in cases of incidental contact while still preventing crossover in the case of head-on accidents.

It was installed on the Pequop section of I-80 last summer.

A typical Jersey barrier stands 32 inches (81 cm) tall and is made of steel-reinforced poured concrete. Many are constructed with the embedded steel reinforcement protruding from each end, allowing them to be incorporated into permanent emplacements when linked to one another by sections of fresh concrete poured on site.

The design of the Jersey barrier was specifically intended to minimize damage in incidental accidents and reduce the likelihood of a car crossing into oncoming lanes in the event of a collision. In common shallow angle hits, sheet metal damage is minimized by allowing the vehicle tires to ride up on the lower sloped face. Head-ons are minimized by gradually lifting the vehicle and pivoting it away from oncoming vehicles and back into traffic heading in its original direction.

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Newmont Chopper Wows Wendover

Posted on 26 October 2012 by Howard Copelan

Newmont’s custom made Chopper was the guest of honor Saturday at at the first annual Long Canyon Picnic at Scobie Park in Wendover.

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Liars

Posted on 26 October 2012 by Howard Copelan

We were not taken aback by Emily Carter’s, well we generously will call them “misstatements” when we heard them.

We are used to them Mrs. Carter and her cohort Johnny Gorum have been misstating for a very, very long time.

They “misstated” the city into buying the Taj Mahal, “misstated” Rusty Palms into an empty bankrupt building and almost “misstated” the city buying a gas company because of a supposed “misstated” dire emergency that really isn’t.

Having raised four children we are familiar with prevarication. What is a bit shocking is that neither Carter or Gorum show any shame. Our kids always showed guilt at least when they got caught. One of them had a tell, a lazy eye that as soon as the mouth deviated from the truth, would begin to wander.

But like professional poker players Gorum and Carter can look someone in the eye and “misstate” them out of their pants.

Practice does make perfect we suppose.

But in the handling of public money do we really that kind of perfection?

In stark contrast to them, Casey Snyder brings a whole new kind of refreshing to the public debate. He not only told the truth he did it calmly, coolly and with just the right amount of passion and good humor that will make it a pleasure to see him on the city council.

 

 

For the past nine months we along with our old army buddies have been commemorating the first Israel/Lebanon war of 1982.

It will always be “our” war and it was a terrifying, glorious, sometimes boring often times exhilarating experience that marked and perhaps scarred us for ever.

Looking back we were just children playing soldier with real guns.

Now with a son who is just as immortal as we thought ourselves a lifetime ago, our job is to worry.

Worry and pray, we never did it then, we are doing it now.

Funny thing back then we were deeply concerned with the rightness of our war and our part in shaping current events.

Now our opinion is tempered with the safety of our son.

It is expected. It is a father’s job.

Barack Obama is our age and while he will probably never have a child under arms we expected him to at least pretend to care about American boys getting shot at.

He says he does.

Benghazi says different.

 

 

Either due to incompetence, stupidity or just plain evil, agents of the Nevada Gaming Control board have inserted themselves into the White Pine County election for County Commissioner and have subverted the democratic process.

That they damaged the reelection of someone we like is one thing, but that they damaged the electoral process is quite another.

If Mr. Perea loses he will go home to his wife and family, lick his wounds and return to fight another day.

Our democracy however was forever wounded.

The only way to fix it is for a full scale investigation of just how this happened and upon whose say so did it get started.

Our gut tells us that this did not come from gaming.

Cui bono is the phrase in Latin, who benefits?

In the gaming industry Mr. Perea’s Border inn is about as small as a casino as possible to still be called a casino. It is barely worth the attention of the Control board.

On the other hand as a County Commissioner Mr. Perea is a giant in the fight to keep rural Nevada water in rural Nevada. With him out of the picture the odds of the water fight ending in favor of the SNWA increase more than just a little bit.

It is just a little over one mile from the SNWA headquarters to the Gaming control board offices in Las Vegas.

We are told it is a very pleasant walk.

 

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West Wendover Justice Court October 19, Judge Reese Melville

Posted on 23 October 2012 by Howard Copelan

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Matthew Glenn Ratliff/Mandatory Appearance/Violation of Juvenile TPO

Eli Andy Sireech/Mandatory Appearance/Domestic Violence, Second Offense, or in the Alternative, Battery

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Jason Royden Posell/Entry of Plea/Domestic Violence, or in the Alternative, Battery

Scott Wesley Granger/Change of Plea/Disturbing the Peace; Destruction of Property

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Scott Maxwell Bong/Misdemeanor Trial/Domestic Violence, or in the Alternative, Battery

Viktor Vasilyevich Kot/Citation Trial/Basic Speed Rule

Bernadette K. Lawless/Citation Trial/Basic Speed Rule

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Mayor Kills Wendover Gas Company Bailout

Posted on 19 October 2012 by Howard Copelan

West Wendover Mayor Donnie Anderson thwarted at least temporarily the city’s takeover of the financially trouble Wendover Gas Company by making a half a dozen phone calls.

With the item on the agenda calling for the immediate takeover of the company on an emergency basis, Andersen along with councilman Izzy Gutierrez, his only political ally on the council called over a half a dozen local and regional propane suppliers to determine if private enterprise could come to the rescue rather than the publicly funded city takeover.

“I saw this as kind of a back door effort by some to buy the gas company,” Andersen said. “And I also wanted to see that if there really was a crisis coming and the city was the only option. We must have made at least a half a dozen if not more phone calls and every single company we contacted said they were willing and able to supply Wendover Gas Company customers should it go bankrupt.”

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The agenda item:

*b. Discussion and Possible Decision to Provide Appropriate Authorization and Conditions for the City of West Wendover to Exercise Its Police Powers for the Health, Safety and Welfare of its 

Citizens in the Event of a Crisis/Emergency Shortfall in the Delivery of Propane Gas Between October 16, 2012 and April 2, 2013 to the Citizens of West Wendover as it Relates to the Operating Limitations of Wendover Gas Company, and Other Matters Appropriately Related Thereto .

After Andersen and Gutierrez presented their findings to the council the item was tabled but not before harsh words were exchanged between Andersen Wendover Gas Company owner Nancy Green and councilmen Johnny Gorum and Emily carter.

Both Gorum and Carter have pushed for the city bailout of the Wendover Gas company, estimated to cost between $2 million to $2.5 million. Andersen has vigorously opposed the idea, going so far to veto a feasibility study earlier this year. The veto was overridden but the mayor made his point clear.

“I don’t like to see any local business fail,” he said. “But I don’t think the city should be in the business of bailing out failed companies. I sympathize with Nancy and a lot of her problem were caused in part by the city but tax payers money should not be used to bail her out. There is no crisis, if she goes under there are companies ready to come in to service her customers.”

In this meeting as well as previous ones, Green, Carter and Gorum have argued that the purchase of the gas company would then enable West Wendover to fund a spur line to the recently completely Ruby Natural Gas pipeline running near the Nevada/Idaho border and thus bring relatively cheap natural gas to Wendover.

Andersen once again repeated that he did not think it was the city’s business to build a pipeline let alone run a gas company.

“If a private corporation looks at the numbers and thinks it could make a profit that is well and good and I will support it 100 percent,” andersen said. “But I don’t see how we could justify borrowing $10 million (the estimated cost of the pipeline) to our tax payers. Does anyone know how long it would take us to pay off a $10 million loan?”

Andersen was not the only voice to raise concerns about the city’s purchase of the gas company and the natural gas pipeline project. In separate interviews with the High Desert Advocate both Steve Shute, the appointed managing trustee of Wendover Gas and industry analyst Paul Kvam questioned the workability of the plans.

“For the city to buy the gas company for $2 million is insane,” Kvam said. “Anybody could pick up its assets for maybe $10,000 next year on the courthouse steps. Getting all the pipeline infrastructure for almost nothing would make the operations profitable. Then with those assets you could think about building the pipeline.”

This was the second time in two weeks that the Wendover Gas purchase hit a snag .

Earlier this month the feasibility study was put on hold by the City of West Wendover was suspended at least temporarily after research revealed that the City of Wendover, Utah has first dibs on the company’s property.

In 1995 shortly after Wendover Gas won approval to lay gas lines in West Wendover and began to move its base of operations from Wendover, Utah then Wendover, UT Mayor Brenda Morgan pushed through an ordinance that gave the town the right of ‘first refusal’ to buy the assets of the company should Wendover Gas ever fold.

Reportedly upset at the loss of tax revenue generated from the gas company, Morgan conditioned her city’s approval to the move on that issue.

Wendover Gas owner and the city of West Wendover agreed to the condition and now that condition may come back to haunt them.

Green appeared before the Wendover City Council Wednesday to request that the condition be waived. But although sympathetic to her plight Wendover, Utah may set some new conditions before they waive the old one.

According to Mayor Mike Crawford he would not be opposed to granting a waiver but would urge his council to consider asking for some guarantees that would control the price of propane charged to Wendover, Utah customers.

In Wednesday meeting the Wendover, Utah City Council put three conditions to granting a waiver.

a) Wendover, Utah would have right of purchase of the gas pipeline system running through town.

b) Wendover, Utah would still be able to assess franchise fees on who ever bought the gas company.

c) Wendover, Utah customers would be charged the lowest price charged to West Wendover customers.

“We think these are reasonable request and will protect the interests of Wendover,” Crawford said Wednesday. ‘We do not want to get into the gas business but we have to protect our residents and our businesses.

According to Crawford the reason behind the best possible price condition was that if West Wendover did but the gas company it could use the power of pricing to encourage growth in West Wendover at the expense of Wendover, Utah.

While the conditions may seem reasonable in Wendover, Utah they may raise more than an eye brow in Wendover, Nevada. Nevada customers would b charged on a sliding scale where the price they pay for gas is at lest partly determined by the volume of gas bought.

If Wendover, Utah residential customers are given the same price per gallon as a casino controversy is certain to ensue.

Already the purchase is controversial, just to get the feasibility study approved the council had to over ride the Mayor’s veto.

In that meeting the council voted to accept the appraisal numbers for the gas company and spend up to $18,000 for a feasibility study on whether the City of West Wendover could operate the financially distressed company for a profit.

According to Anderson the ‘high’ valuation for Wendover Gas was estimated to be $2.4 million.

An emergency meeting to override the veto was called for and while the vote remained the same the barb’s thrown especially between Anderson and councilwoman Emily Carter were new.

At one point Anderson implied that Carter’s was being hypocritical by supporting the study and perhaps ultimately buying the company with public money when she herself was using one of Green’s competitors for propane.

Carter countered that who she personally bought propane from was irrelevant to the discussion and that the council was only authorizing a feasibility study on whether the city should buy the company and not the purchase itself.

 

 

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DateLine NBC To Feature Mickie Costanzo Murder Story

Posted on 19 October 2012 by Howard Copelan

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The tragic murder of 16 year old Micaela “Mickie” Costanzo by Kody Patten and Toni Fratto will be featured on the NBC news magazine “Dateline” later this year.

Producers from the program have already conducted interviews the Costanzo family as well as the Pattens and the Frattos it is unknown whether either Kody Patten or Toni Fratto were interviewed for the program.

Costanzo was killed by the Wendover teens in March 2011. Both are now serving life sentences in the Nevada prison system.

It will be the first time the story will be covered by a major national network although the story along with interviews of Mickie’s mother Celia Costanzo and Toni Fratto’s mother Cassie as well as a jail house interview with Toni fratto were featured on the syndicated talk show ‘Anderson’ starring CNN anchor Anderson Cooper earlier this year.

Dateline NBC, or Dateline, is a U.S. weekly television news magazine broadcast by NBC. It was previously NBC’s flagship news magazine, but now focuses mainly on true crime stories. It airs Friday at 10 p.m. Eastern Time and after football season on Sunday at 7 p.m. Eastern Time.

While Mickie Costanzo’s murder has been mostly ignored by the national television media it has been covered thoroughly locally and on regional television in both Reno, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City almost from the moment the girl was reported missing.

In addition to the local media the story has also been picked up by most national newspapers and in the blogosphere primarily by politically liberal ones such as the Huffington Post and smaller evangelical Christian ones as well as the foreign Press primarily in the United Kingdom and Australia.

The common denominator in almost all of the non-local coverage is Fratto’s and to a lesser extent Patten’s membership in the LDS Church.

In Great Britain and in Australia and other parts of the English speaking world Fratto is invariably referred to as the ‘Mormon Teen Killer’ either in headlines or the lead paragraph.

“When we see something like that,” said an LDS Church executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “We often ask if they would give the same kind of headline if the criminal had been a Catholic or Jewish or a Muslim. The answer is obvious. But on the other hand Mormons are in the news with Mitt Romney as the presumed Republican nominee. Even before that we have seen in the last few years Mormons coming to the attention of the entertainment industry with series like ‘Big Love’. There is a Broadway play going on now called the ‘Book of Mormon’.”

Just why Mormons became a hot topic especially abroad even before the election season may be a symptom of the church’s success. 50 years ago there were fewer than 10,000 Mormons in Great Britain according to UK census figures, today that number is quickly approaching half a million.

“50 years ago most of the British never met a Mormon,” he continued. “Today many of them had. We are kind of new and therefore perhaps newsworthy.”

While novelty can explain part of the international media’s fascination with the Costanzo murder. There may be a dark side to its attention from the left wing and extreme anti-Mormon evangelical blogs.

In most of those mentions of Fratto’s Mormonism come with in one or two blog posts of GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

“It’s kind of clumsy and I sincerely doubt it will be successful,” the LDS official continued. “While there are a very few evangelicals who may not for Mr. Romney just because of his religion those numbers are pretty small.”

Indeed the most virulent attacks on Romney’s Mormonism have not come from the very far Christian Right but rather from the often mainstream Liberal Left.

According to the Gallup poll numbers 27 percent of Democrats would oppose a Mormon candidate, compared to 18 percent of Republicans. And according to a Pew poll Forty-one percent of liberal Democrats said they would be less likely to support a Mormon candidate.

Any attempt to tar Romney with the murder of Micaela Costanzo simply because her killers were Mormons will probably only be successful with liberal anti-Mormons who would never vote for a Republican anyway.

However it may cause some interest if the Dateline story take up the ‘Mormon’ angle and if it is aired before or after the presidential election November 6.

In a related development Kody Patten is now a resident of the infamous Ely State Prison, called by inmates “The Graveyard”.

According to former and present inmates Ely Max earned its name due to what they call the larger than normal number of deaths at the facility than other prisons.

“Ely State Prison is a place of death, stagnation, misery, pain, loneliness and indeterminate lock down. If you were to take a walk on one of these depressing tiers back here in “the hole,” you would hear many disembodied voices ring out, yelling in anger and frustration, trying to tell you how bad it is for us in here, in between the isolated confines of steel and stone.” Wrote an inmate under the pseudonym of ‘Coyote’ “…I can see why Ely State Prison is labeled “The Graveyard,” there are so many deaths there. It is a locked down, maximum security prison, all but half of one unit – the workers unit – which is on one side of Unit 8…”

Since his sentencing in late August, Patten had been housed until this week at the medium security prison in Carson City and there was some speculation that he would remain there.

“He has been in Carson a pretty long time,” said a source close to the case before patten was transferred. “That could mean he is staying. Ely is after all supposed to be reserved for the worst of the worst. The most difficult to manage in prison regardless of their crimes that got them incarcerated in the first place. The only way Patten will be transferred there is if he does something bad at Carson and not because of the murder he committed.”

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Coaches In Little League Football Fight Get Lifetime Ban

Posted on 19 October 2012 by Howard Copelan

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Two head coaches of Wendover’s great Basin Youth Football League have been banned for life from coaching and in a separate punishment banned from the West Wendover High school ball fields falling a violent confrontation in a Tuesday game.

Head Coaches Luis Perez and Frank Sanchez were told Wednesday that their careers as little league football coaches were over immediately and forever by league president Bob Loncar.

“It is a real shame that this had to happen, but there is no excuse whatsoever for their actions,” Loncar said. “This is not what football is all about and in complete violation of our league’s by-laws. I know and like both Luis and Frank but actions have consequences. It is a shame that they ended up like this, but we cannot tolerate that kind of behavior.”

At the end of the game Tuesday instead of exchanging handshakes the two coaches  exchanged punches. Police reports differ on who struck the first blow and neither man was arrested at the scene.

However the case has been referred to the Elko County District Attorney that may result in criminal charges against one or both men.

In addition to the league life time ban, the two men are also banned from West Wendover High School playing fields for an indefinite period.

“We have a responsibility to protect the people who use our facilities,” said Elko School Superintendent Jeff Zander. “That kind of behavior will never be tolerated.”

Tuesday’s game was a tie breaker to determine the first seed in playoffs till scheduled for next week.

“The season will continue,” Loncar added. “The assistant coaches of each of their teams will take over.”

But while this season will crown a champion the future of little league football in Wendover could be in doubt.

It was only thanks to the almost herculean efforts of organizer Bob Loncar there was little league football for Wendover kids this year.

“It was a close thing,” Loncar said this August. “But we have just enough players to put together three teams. We would love more kids to sign up but now we can have a season.”

For the second time in as many years little league football was in danger of being canceled for lack of participation.

The league has been in operation for about seven years and features intra city play among three teams.

It was founded by Loncar, first to instill in Wendover elementary school children the love of the game of football and also to help improve the performance of the local high school football team the West Wendover Wolverines.

“There is a direct connection between having a good little league program and having a good high school program.” Loncar said. “Look at the State Champions of ten years ago. That was the first time the entire team had little league experience before playing high school ball.  If we don’t have a decent little league program I am afraid we will never see another state championship.”

 

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