Archive | January, 2013

Elko District Court January 28, 2013 Judge Nancy Porter

Posted on 31 January 2013 by Howard Copelan

porter

FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT 

 DEPARTMENT 1

COURT SCHEDULE

LAW & MOTION CALENDAR

January 28, 2013

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   CR-FP-12-571 Harris, Bryon Leigh (DA/Macfarlan) Arraignment (Transportation of a Controlled Substance)

   CR-FO-09-707 Nielson, Charisse (DA/Kilpatrick) Arraignment (Attempted Embezzlement)

   CR-FP-12-425 Lawson, Donald James (DA/Stewart) Status Hearing (Possession of Dangerous Weapon)

 

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  CR-FO-09-2677 Evan, Robert Lee (DA/Stewart) Sentencing (Theft by Drawing or Passing an Insufficient Fund Check in Exchange for Property or Services of a Value of $250 or More

   CR-FO-12-1265 Miller, Rocky Marlene (DA/Gallagher) Arraignment (Receiving, Possessing or Withholding Stolen Goods)

   CR-FP-12-75 Kiechler, Anthony Clarence (DA/Gallagher) Arraignment (Possession of a Schedule I or Schedule II Controlled Substance)

   CR-FO-12-659 Benedict, Rachelle Marie (DA/Gallagher) Sentencing (Attempted Uttering of a Forged Instrument)

   CR-FP-12-445 Hyde, Barbara (DA/Foster) Sentencing (Possession of a Controlled Substance)

   CR-FP-12-839 Uribe, Francisco Marin (DA/Foster) Arraignment (Possession of a Controlled Substance)

 

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Child Killer To Go Free? Innocent Man Jailed For 17 Years?

Posted on 25 January 2013 by Howard Copelan

McCormick, Patrick 01152013

Patrick Coy McCormick

On February 4, Elko District Judge Nancy Porter will either free a child killer or give an innocent man a new trial for a crime he never committed.

The man, Patrick Cody McCormick, is either one or the other and has been sitting in the Elko County Jail waiting his day in court ever since the Nevada Supreme court overturned his conviction for the 1995 murder of toddler Jacob Jones last November.

“We are just heartsick about this,” said Sandy Foertsch the paternal grandmother of Jacob Jones the one year old child McCormick was convicted of killing. “We plan to be at the hearing February 4th to protest if that man is freed.”

Jacob Jones

Jacob Jones

In addition to possibly freeing McCormick, the court’s finding that the Carlin miner deserved a new trial because his original attorney was incompetent and because of that ‘ineffective council’ an ‘innocent’ man may have spent 17 year in prison may send shock waves across the intermountain west.

“We aren’t talking about some inexperienced, under paid public defender,” said McCormick’s new attorney Rick Cornell. “This is Ron Yengich, who is promoted as the best defense attorney in the west.”

Cornell was not exaggerating. In a glowing article in the Deseret News published in October 2005, Yengich was lionized by reporter Doug Robinson on the attorney’s 30 anniversary of practicing law:

“As Ron Yengich walks briskly to court this morning, he is pondering his three decades of defending the accused. Sept. 29 will mark 30 years as a criminal defense attorney in Salt Lake City. He noted it on his calendar. It has been on his mind for months.

“Thirty years,” he says. “I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it.”

That’s 30 years of taking on some of Utah’s most high-profile cases, usually on the side of the underdog and squarely against public sentiment. That’s 30 years of having the fate of men resting on his shoulders. Thirty years of representing murderers, drug dealers, thieves. Thirty years of fighting for congressmen, mayors, judges, “Joe Sixpack,” pro athletes, actors, religious leaders, journalists. “All manner of disreputables,” he says wryly.”

Yengich, Cornell said, was retained shortly after McCormick was arrested in 1995, for the murder of Jacob Jones the son of McCormick’s live in girl friend, Jennifer.

notesjanJennifer had separated from her husband, Ben Jones, and had taken up with McCormick with her two children at a Carlin trailer park.

“She was typical trailer trash.” Cornell explained and according to Cornell it was Jennifer Jones not Patrick Cody McCormick who was responsible for her son’s death.

“A week before she found out her son was allergic to penicillin,” the attorney said. “But the day he died she gave him an adult dose (of penicillin) to stop him from coughing.”

3041380 - Color AdThe autopsy of the toddler did not reveal any antibiotics in his system but did fine some 20 blows to his heads consistent with shaken baby syndrome.

Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) is a triad of medical symptoms: subdural hematoma, retinal hemorrhage, and cerebral edema from which some doctors, consistent with current medical understanding, infer child abuse caused by intentional shaking. In a majority of cases there is no visible sign of external trauma. Up to half of deaths related to child abuse are reportedly due to shaken baby syndrome.

There is a very good reason why no penicillin was found in the boy, Cornell explained, it metabolizes almost immediately after it is taken. Yengich, Cornell added, told McCormick’s family that he would get one of the top pathologists in the country to counter the theory espoused by the state’s pathologist Ellen Clark and then Elko District attorney Gary Woodbury, that Jacob Jones was beaten to death and that Patrick Cody McCormick did it.

While the Salt Lake rock star lawyer did make some preliminary calls, Cornell said, he never followed through thus when the jury heard the case the cause of Jacob Jones’ death was little disputed if at all.

Pertinent part of Nevada supreme court ruling: 

“… Appellant argues that counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate whether the victim died from anaphylactic shock due to an allergic reaction to penicillin. The record before this court indicates that counsel was deficient and that appellant was prejudiced by that deficiency. Counsel testified that he knew the emergency room physician could not rule out a penicillin allergy as a cause of death; that he could not recall discussing it with Dr. S. Dunton, the medical expert with whom he briefly consulted; and that he would have presented expert testimony that the victim died of anaphylactic shock had he had such an expert opinion. Counsel provided no reason for why he did not investigate this possible defense. It was thus objectively unreasonable for trial counsel to have abandoned the potential defense without first investigating it. Strickland,  466 U.S. at 690-91. Moreover, appellant has demonstrated a reasonable probability of a different outcome had counsel presented expert testimony regarding a penicillin allergy. The testimony of two key witnesses provided the only evidence at trial that appellant fatally abused the victim. First, Dr. E. Clark testified that the victim died of brain injuries as the result of blunt force trauma to his head, the blunt force trauma was inflicted within 6 to 12 hours of death, and the victim would have exhibited symptoms within minutes of axonal disruptions within the brain. Second, the victim’s mother testified that appellant was alone with the victim for approximately 10 minutes during that 6-to-12-hour timeframe, and when she returned at the end of the 10 minutes, appellant was coming out of the victim’s room and reported that the victim was having trouble breathing. The only evidence presented at trial regarding penicillin was that the mother had administered some to the victim shortly before he went into distress, none was found in the victim’s stomach or blood, and Dr. Clark’s opinion that that was “unusual.” Opinions such as those of Dr. R. Gabriel, whom appellant retained for the post-conviction proceedings, would have impeached Dr. Clark’s testimony and provided a plausible, alternative cause of death that did not implicate appellant. Dr. Gabriel opined based on the victim’s medical records and the autopsy report that the victim died from anaphylactic shock due to penicillin poisoning. He explained that it was in fact not “unusual” that no penicillin was found in the victim’s system as it would have been fully metabolized before death, an opinion with which Dr. Clark agreed at the evidentiary hearing held for the instant petition. Dr. Gabriel further opined that the medical records and autopsy report contained insufficient evidence to support child abuse as a cause of death. Dr. Gabriel testified, consistent with Dr. Clark’s testimony at trial and the evidentiary hearing, that the superficial bleeding on the brain was insufficient to cause death. However, where Dr. Clark testified at the trial that the superficial bleeding and retinal hemorrhaging were an indication of axonal disruptions, Dr. Gabriel testified that no such conclusion could be drawn. Rather, he explained that microscopic analysis of deep brain tissue was necessary to determine whether there were axonal disruptions and that the hospital staff could have easily mistaken dilated capillaries in the victim’s eyes for retinal hemorrhaging, but neither could be confirmed because no photographs were taken and the autopsy report did not indicate they were examined for. Because Dr. Gabriel’s testimony provided an alternative explanation for the death and contradicted that of Dr. Clark, and because the expert testimony was critical in this case, appellant demonstrated a reasonable probability of a different outcome at trial had counsel pursued the penicillin theory. We therefore conclude that the district court erred in denying this claim.’ 

Because appellant has demonstrated that trial counsel was ineffective, he is entitled to a new jury trial…”

wrecjan2013A new trial might be easier said than done. Eighteen year have passed since Jacob Jones died and district Attorney Marc Torvinen may decide pragmatically that the cost of mounting a new prosecution simply is not justified.

Originally sentenced to 20 to life McCormick would have been up for parole in two to three years even if he had lost his appeal.

“A new trial with so much time passed would not be easy for the prosecution,” said retired District Judge Mike Memeo. “Witnesses forget, evidence is destroyed or ruined. It isn’t impossible getting another conviction but it isn’t easy.”

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Another cynical consideration favoring the dismissal of the case is the fact that McCormick now suffers from the debilitating Crohn’s disease.

According to Cornell, as long as McCormick is in custody the cost for the treatment of his illness must be either borne by the state or Elko County.

“We are hoping that the District Attorney does the math,” Cornell said.

On the other hand on February 4th, it will be up to Judge Nancy Porter to look Jacob’s father and grandmother in the eye and tell them the man they believe brutally beat the boy to death is now a free man.

Porter is up for reelection in 2014.

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Could Reid, Sage Grouse Doom Local Oil Boom? Environmentalists Hope

Posted on 25 January 2013 by Howard Copelan

oilreid

The local oil boom could be hitting a road block even before one barrel is pumped from the ground as environmentalist mobilize against the controversial fracking method.

Thursday state environmental groups including the Nevada Wildness project will be meeting with the staff of Senate Majority leader Harry Reid D-NV to voice their concerns about oil drill in northern rural Nevada in general and fracking in particular.

“We are meeting with some of Senator Reid’s staffers Thursday to bring up our concerns about the Well at Mary’s River Ranch near Wells and the one a Fergusson’s Spring near Wendover.” said Craig Mortimore, Renewable Energy Coordinator of the Nevada Wilderness Project (NWP). “Although neither of us can confirm that the observed drilling rig is utilizing hydraulic fracturing technology, one must draw a simple inference that the altered condition of the spring is likely due to the drilling activity.  It is dismaying that invasive actions like this are apparently focused upon lands where the developer evidently evades the rigors of NEPA.  We see the same thing with the Mary’s River operation in that private lands are also being targeted.  According to the Department of Minerals, though, the proponent has not filed for private lands drilling permits with their office.”

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Earlier this month the NWP submitted its comments about the Mary’s river test well to the BLM suggest to the agency that the company operating the well, Noble Energy, pay for a more exhaustive study on the potential impacts of the project.

wrecjan2013“The Nevada Wilderness Project is urging the Bureau of Land Management to fully investigate the environmental and social repercussions and geological implications of a proposal to use fracking in an oil and gas exploration project near Wells, Nevada,” Mortimore wrote on the groups website. “Noble Energy has applied for permission to use hydraulic fracturing technology to explore for gas and oil near the Mary’s River west of Wells. We think they should have to do a full-on Environmental Impact Report on the proposal rather than a scaled down Environmental Assessment.

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Noble is proposing to drill up to 20 oil and gas exploration wells on federal and private lands over a two-year period. They want to drill two to four test wells in the first year, with the option of shooting more holes in the ground if they need to “define” the amount of oil and gas. They’d use hydraulic fracturing to explore the underground presence of gas and oil.”

Noble Energy has leased 330,000 net acres in Northeastern Nevada and is looking for reserves of half a billion barrels with an exploratory drilling program beginning in 2013.

The drill head located just 20 miles south of Wendover near Fergusson springs is owned by Pebble Energy.

It was always known that there was some oil in the state.  But the issue has been the economics.  Back in the early 80’s, when oil was at a then very high $30 a barrel, the economics of exploration and production still weren’t very attractive.  At $70 to $90 a barrel, the sales price vastly exceeding the lift cost causes the potential of Nevada to become far more attractive.

In addition to price fracking has put previously unrecoverable oil in reach.

Hydraulic fracturing is the propagation of fractures in a rock layer, as a result of the action of a pressurized fluid. Some hydraulic fractures form naturally—certain veins or dikes are examples—and can create conduits along which gas and petroleum from source rocks may migrate to reservoir rocks.

3041380 - Color AdInduced hydraulic fracturing or hydro fracking, commonly known as fracking or fracking, is a technique used to release petroleum, natural gas (including shale gas, tight gas, and coal seam gas), or other substances for extraction.

Successful fracking has created an oil boom throughout the United States and will according to analysts help turn America into the largest oil producer in the world by the next decade.

And if preliminary tests yield anywhere near there forecasts, Wendover, Ely, Elko and Wells could become part of that boom.

However before that boom can be realized it must first pass through several bureaucratic hoops including the Environmental Protection agency and while technically not necessary win the approval of Harry Reid.

Described as a born again environmentalist Reid played a critical role in pulling the plug on two coal fired energy plants slated for White Pine County much to the ire of many local residents even after both projects won approval by the EPA and the BLM.

“The problem is that this technology sometimes pollutes groundwater and drinking water supplies. It also requires a lot of freshwater to work, which is a problem in arid Nevada. There is also the problem of leftover chemicals and improperly sealed wells. When you consider that fracking has been around since 1947, it’s kind of scary that they are still having problems doing it safely.” Mortimore added. “Another issue with fracking or any other kind of drilling is the impact on wildlife habitat. The Greater Sage-grouse, which is a candidate for the Endangered Species Act, has been greatly affected by the road-building and well-drilling that has occurred in other areas of the West where fracking is used.

Greater Sage-grouse use that Mary’s River area for strutting grounds, which are essential to the bird’s survival. Noble has assured the BLM that it will only work in the area during late summer so as to reduce impact on the birds, but we suspect their plan to build or improve 38 miles of roads in the area could have a major impact on the birds. We think the local pronghorn and migrating deer will also be affected by the roads and traffic, and that improving roads and trails in that area will increase the potential for poaching.”

Mortimore’ group could be ill equipped to mount a full scale assault on oil drilling in Nevada. Under staffed and under funded the group may be forced to shut down this year. But with the Senate majority leader as well as a newly invigorated Obama Administration ready to take on Big Oil the group is not without powerful allies. If it is successful the dream of an oil boom in rural Nevada may suddenly be deferred.

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Aeries (Flocks) Of Eagles Return To The High Desert

Posted on 25 January 2013 by Howard Copelan

eagle1

Bald Eagle waiting for road kill.

 

Once locally extinct bald eagles are now commonly reported ‘roadside attractions’ in northern Nevada.

While a growing eagle population has been documented by zoologists for the past decade this particularly cold and bitter winter may have forced the birds from their usual hunting grounds to scavenge off fresh road kill along I-80 and other roads through the region.

Even 20 years ago the sighting of a bald eagle in north east Nevada was national news. Once a common sight in much of the continent, the Bald Eagle was severely affected in the mid-20th century by a variety of factors, among them the thinning of egg shells attributed to use of the pesticide DDT. Bald Eagles, like many birds of prey, were especially affected by DDT due to biomagnification. DDT itself was not lethal to the adult bird, but it interfered with the bird’s calcium metabolism, making the bird either sterile or unable to lay healthy eggs. Female eagles laid eggs that were too brittle to withstand the weight of a brooding adult, making it nearly impossible for the eggs to hatch.

notesjan2013

In addition to pesticides eagles were also shot by hunters and farmers as varmints and many fell prey to poison bait used against coyotes and foxes.

By the 1960’s the birds had vanished from most of the American sky with toeholds only in Alaska and Florida. The Bald Eagle was declared an endangered species in the U.S. in 1967, and amendments to the 1940 act between 1962 and 1972 further restricted commercial uses and increased penalties for violators. Perhaps most significant in the species’ recovery, in 1972, DDT was banned from usage in the United States.

Its comeback was helped by reintroduction programs of wounded or captive bred birds back to the wild in the 1970’s and 1980’s the most notable locally was the bird Silver and his mate Jane who were relocated to the Ruby Marshes just south of Wells in 1974. Prior to silver and Jane Bald Eagles had not been seen in the marshes for well over two decades.

wrecjan2013With regulations in place and DDT banned, the eagle population rebounded quickly. The Bald Eagle can be found in growing concentrations throughout the United States and Canada, particularly near large bodies of water.

Bald Eagles are not the only iconic wild animals to return to Nevada. Just last summer a small herd  pronghorns, the fastest North American, mammals took a mosey threw Wendover on their annual migration north for the summer.

The pronghorn can reached speeds of over 60 miles an hour for over five minutes is the pronghorn is bested only by the cheetah in a sprint. But while the cheetah can achieve 80 miles an hour, it can only sustain that speed for at best 100 yards, a pronghorn can maintain its top speed for over five minutes.

Like the eagle the 20th century was not kind to the pronghorns by the 1920’s the entire number of pronghorns was estimated to be only 13,000. Protection of habitat and hunting restrictions have allowed their numbers to recover to an estimated population of between 500,000 and 1,000,000.

In the last 50 years pronghorns have recovered almost exponentially and part of the reason like other native wildlife could be due to increased toleration of human beings.

3041380 - Color AdDescribed as extremely skittish well into the 1950, pronghorns like the recent visitors to Wendover have appeared to have learned that people especially those living in cities pose little threat to them.

This acclimation to humans and the exploitation of new food sources is not unique to the pronghorn. The once rare desert big horn sheep is an annual winter visitor to Wendover as are mule dear and elk.

While herbivores are tolerated if not welcomed to the new human built oasis predators such as coyotes, wolves, bobcats and cougars  have also tried to make inroads into areas of human habitation with often fatal results.

Captured Wendover Golden Eagle

Captured Wendover Golden Eagle

In a related development West Wendover Police captured a juvenile Golden Eagle near the local Post Office last week.

The bird was transfered to the Nevada Department of Wildlife offices in Wells where it received medical treatment for a stomach infection and will be released back to the wild when it recovers.

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Arctic Temp Continue To February? Deep Freeze Damage In Thousands

Posted on 25 January 2013 by Howard Copelan

deepfreezeart

 

After a month of sub freezing temperatures local thermometers are expected to pass the 32 degree mark Sunday according to the latest forecast.

“It sounds kind of weird be exciting about getting to freezing,” said a local West Wendover Police Officer. “But yes we are looking forward to it.”

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Sunday’s projected high however will be as good as it gets. According to forecasts the temperature is expected to dip below freezing again for at least another week.

Wendover resident surveys damage caused by freezing pipes.

Wendover resident surveys damage caused by freezing pipes.

Since Christmas Day local temperatures rose above freezing just once on January 10 when thermometers passed the mark by a whopping 0.8 degrees.

The month of below freezing temps was the longest since accurate records began to be kept in the region in the 1920’s. The previous record was set during the winter of 1992/93 when in December and again in later January February the temperature stayed below freezing for three weeks.

Apart from the general discomfort the unprecedented cold has caused thousands of dollars in damage around Wendover mostly due to frozen and broken pipes.

wrecjan2013The long cold spell also helped to push the West Wendover City council to use its police powers to purchase 9,000 gallons of emergency propane for Wendover Gas owner Nancy Green who told the council last Tuesday that she did not have the funds and that her system would run of of fuel by that Thursday.

The 9,000 gallons, Green advised would be enough to get her customers through the weekend until more gas could be delivered. If the gas did not get here Green warned the council her customers could run out of propane as early as Thursday.

While Green blamed most of the problem on the lack of national supply she admitted that the local shortage was exacerbated by her dismal relationship with her former supplier Turner Gas.

With her debt to the propane wholesaler seriously in arrears, Green told the council that the company demanded that she pay $10,000 in addition to the cost of the propane before she could receive even the emergency 9,000 gallons of propane.

notesjan2013

City Manager Chris Melville informed the council that the impasse could be avoided if the city purchased the supply or purchased it through the Peppermill Corporation. The Peppermill as well as the other casinos in West Wendover are directly supplied by Turner Gas.

Melville told the council that the Peppermill had already agreed in principal to help the city.

This November the council laid the foundation to make use its emergency police powers to buy gas should such an emergency arise after Green told them of the demands by Turner Gas.

It was s not the first time Green has found herself in this predicament, indeed the scenario of the Wendover Gas running out of fuel during winter has repeated itself over and over again for almost a decade.

3041380 - Color AdIn a related development Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval declared a state of emergency Tuesday as a “precautionary measure” to allow more propane deliveries in the state, the Associated Press reported. Record low temperatures below zero have gripped some parts of the state causing an acute supply problem.

Sandoval’s order temporarily waives the rules that typically allow only 14 consecutive hours of driving and require drivers to have at least 10 consecutive hours off duty before driving again. They also limit drivers to 60 hours driving over seven consecutive days and 70 hours over eight consecutive days.

 

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Ellison Sponsor Israel Support Resolution In Nevada Assembly

Posted on 25 January 2013 by Howard Copelan

Assemblyman John Ellison receives IDF Battle pennant from Samal (Sergeant) Arieh Copelan last August.

Assemblyman John Ellison receives IDF Battle pennant from Samal (Sergeant) Arieh Copelan last August.

Long known as one of the chief advocates for rural Nevada, Elko Assemblyman John Ellison adds another semiofficial title to his record of legislative achievement chief sponsor of the Nevada/Israel partnership resolution.

Scheduled to be read and adopted in February, Ellison began working of the legislation last summer.

“I have always been a great admirer of the state of Israel,” the Assemblyman said. “And I felt it was time that we say so in the legislature.”

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Nevada and Nevadans have always been strong supporters of Israel going back to before the founding of the state in the 1940’s, when several Las Vegas casino magnates helped organized arm shipments the beleaguered country in defiance of an international embargo.

Later under then Governor Michael O’Callaghan the silver State established deep ties in the areas of agriculture and science in the 1970’s and 80’s. After leaving office O’Callaghan was one of a founder of a program where American volunteers work at Israeli army bases.

This summer current Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval will make his first visit to the Jewish state to renew ties.

notesjan2013

But while support for Israel has always been strong in Nevada the leaders of that support have often come from Las Vegas in the south or Reno in the west that is until John Ellison.

The walls of Ellison’s office are covered in photos and plaques from various US military units in thanks for the help he has given over the years.

His newest and most unique addition will be a battle pennant from Haruv Battalion of the Israeli Army.

The pennant which features the Battalion’s logo and name in Hebrew was presented last summer by Arieh Copelan a member of the battalion and a constituent of Ellison in thanks for the Assemblyman’s efforts in sending multi-tools to his brothers in arms.

The donation was organized  Ellison and Advocate publisher Howard Copelan, whose son Arieh completed the grueling 7 month long  basic training course and is now serving on the front lines with the Haruv Battalion.

wrecjan2013“When Arieh graduated this February he asked for a multi-tool,” Howard Copelan explained. “His platoon weapon is the Negev, the light machine gun of the Israeli infantry and cleaning it with just a screw driver can be tedious. Multi tools are almost impossible to find in Israel so we got him the best on we could find and he loved it. The only thing is the rest of his platoon all wanted one. But 35 multi tools at $85 a head is a little beyond our budget. When we got home I thought about doing a fund raiser for them and called my friend  Assemblyman John Ellison for some pointers. He took the ball ran with it and scored a touchdown.”

The Nevada assemblyman and former Elko County Commissioner and Elko City Councilman Ellison made the project his own and in less than two weeks found the equipment and the funding to bring the multi-tools to the battalion.

“The Jewish Federation of Las Vegas, Jack and Marcy Simon are the real heroes in this story,” Ellison said. “Everyone who knows me knows that I am a firm and fervent supporter of Israel and its soldiers and I am proud that there is one young man from Elko County who is serving there.”

3041380 - Color AdArieh is the third child of the Copelan family to serve in the IDF. Older sister Anna was in the IDF Spokesman office and older brother Chalom was an officer also in Haruv Battalion and is now in the reserves.

“I like to tell my colleagues from Las Vegas that per capita I have more constituents in the Israel Army than they do,” Ellison laughed. “They don’t believe it at first but it’s true.”

According to the IDF website every year between 500 to 1,000 young men and women the vast majority from North America volunteer to serve in the IDF which is the only foreign army an American can in serve without fear of losing his or her citizenship.

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Loncar New Wolverine Football Head Coach

Posted on 25 January 2013 by Howard Copelan

Bob Loncar

Bob Loncar

Bob Loncar one of the men behind West Wendover first and so far only state crown 10 years ago and currently head of the local Little League football organization was tapped to be the new head coach of the West Wendover Wolverines for the 2013 season said WWHS principal Craig Kyllonen this month.

Involved in youth sports in some form or another since 1975, Loncar has coached every high school sport imaginable but football has always been his favorite.

“It really is my first love,” Loncar said in a Monday interview. “It has such a positive impact on kids. From learning team work to accepting personal responsibility you can really see kids grow as the season goes.”

In addition to coaching high school linemen in the 90’s and the early 2000’s, Loncar was one of the founders of Wendover first little league football and then restarted the program after he returned to Wendover four years ago.

“I am really exited about the upcoming season,” Loncar added. “We have a great group of returning players and some really promising kids who will freshmen.”

wrecjan2013

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When An Eagle Hits You In The Face, Time To Change An Opinion

Posted on 25 January 2013 by Howard Copelan

hcWhen we were much younger we were ardent environmentalists.

We were taught and we believed that human civilization in general and western civilization in particular was pretty damned bad for the natural world.

We were taught and we believed that there really wasn’t any hope to save the planet let alone the thousands of other species living in it and perhaps not even our own.

We saw a couple of Bald Eagles on the side of the road Sunday.

We changed our minds.

We really don’t like to change our minds.

At our age it is much more comfortable to hold on to old beliefs than to embrace new truths.

But when a new truth smacks us in the face we can’t ignore it.

True we tried.

The first time we saw a cougar run across the road, we wrote it off to just one of those things, as we did when a herd of big horn sheep came to town and pronghorns stepped out onto the golf course.

We even went so far to concede that it was possible that some animals species might be on the increase probably temporarily for some unknown reason.

But these were Bald Eagles.

These birds, America’s symbol, we were taught and we believed were only hanging on by a thread.

They were doomed with a capital “D” and the irony of America wiping out its very symbol was pretty ironic.

It just served us right.

Wrong.

The return of the Bald Eagle along with all the other animals that should have gone the way of the buffalo have in fact come the way of the buffalo, because the buffalo is back too.

So with a whole new set of facts we are forced to change our opinion.

Civilization, particularly western civilization is not now bad for nature.

In fact it is pretty good.

With proper stewardship the wild can thrive along with people and all those things that come with people: houses, cars, golf courses, and easy access to drinking water.

We are not looking at the end of the world but rather a rebirth.

Yes western civilization was pretty crappy to flora and fauna in the last couple of hundred years. The passenger pigeon, the great auk and the quagga all bore mute witness to the depredations of the white man.

But that was a long time ago in the days when even the most sophisticated men had a carbon footprint of a baby today.

Do we have a ways to go?

Of course but we shouldn’t fear progress.

The Bald Eagles are back not in spite of us, but because of us.

Progress does not always mean extinction.

Progress can mean life.

 

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Wendover In Black Statewide Gaming Still In The Red

Posted on 25 January 2013 by Howard Copelan

chips

 

Wendover Casinos bucked a state wide trend reporting an increase in earning for 2012, reported the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Wendover clubs showed total revenues increase by almost 5.0 percent to $237,000 and gaming revenues increase 2.6 percent to $167,000. Total gaming income at $35,000 increased by 9.3 percent.

But while there was an increase Wendover casinos are still nowhere near their profit their peak profit levels hit in 2008 before the great recession.

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Things could be worse, Nevada’s entire casino industry suffered through its fourth straight fiscal year net loss despite a 4.4 percent growth in total revenues over the 12-month period, according to the annual Gaming Abstract, which released Wednesday by the Gaming Control Board.

abstractstatsThe report compares revenues and income produced by casinos generating more than $1 million in gaming revenues during the fiscal year, which ended June 30.

In 2012, the abstract included results from 265 casinos statewide. Together, the casinos generated a net loss of $1.21 billion on total revenues of more than $22.9 billion. In fiscal 2011, 256 casinos generated a net loss was almost $4 billion on revenues of $22 billion.

Total revenue covers the money spent by casino customers on gaming, rooms, food, beverage, and other attractions. The net loss was the money retained by casinos after expenses have been paid but before deducting federal income taxes and prior to accounting for extraordinary expenses.

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Control Board senior research analyst Michael Lawton said the general expense line for “other expenses” was main reason for the net loss narrowing by almost 70 percent.

In fiscal 2011, the line item included asset right downs, impairment charges, and other matters related to gaming industry bankruptcy reorganizations and financial restructuring efforts.

In fiscal 2012, the restructuring efforts slowed. The figure was $1.3 billion, a decrease of 60.8 percent compared with $3.4 billion in 2011.

“That number is stabilizing,” Lawton said, adding that the 2012 figure was the lowest number in that category since fiscal 2004.

wrecjan2013Some revenue categories such as food and beverage as well as hotel revenues are either near or slightly above the peak years, Lawton added.

“The big drag is gaming revenue which is about 17 percent still off its peak,” lawton added. “What we are seeing is a change in how tourists are spending. They are still coming and spending but they are spending it differently.”

Gaming revenue accounted for almost $10.3 billion, or 44.8 percent of total revenue, the 14th consecutive year that non-gaming revenues outpaced gaming revenues. In 2011, gaming revenue accounted for 46.2 percent of the total revenues statewide.

“Customer spending patterns have been changing over the years,” Lawton said. “With 55.2 percent of the total revenues, non gaming spending was the highest combined share ever in the abstract.”

Statewide, gaming revenues in the fiscal year grew 1.1 percent over 2011.

Revenues produced from hotel rooms were $4.7 billion, up 8.7 percent from a year ago; revenues from food sales were $3.5 billion, up 6.3 percent; beverage sales were $1.6 billion, up 8.7 percent; and other revenues, which includes retail and shows, was $2.9 billion, an increase of 5 percent.

On the Strip, the divide was more pronounced.

3041380 - Color AdTotal revenues on the Strip during the fiscal year were almost $15.3 billion, a 5.4 percent increase over 2011. Gaming revenues were almost $5.6 billion, a 1.1 percent increase but just 36 percent of the overall total.

In fiscal 2012, 70 casinos owned by publicly traded companies accounted for 78 percent of state’s total gaming revenue generated during the fiscal year.

The 265 casinos paid $799.6 million in gaming taxes and fees during the fiscal year, which equated to 7.8 percent of their gaming revenue.

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Wendover Casinos Rock November

Posted on 25 January 2013 by Howard Copelan

happygamblersWendover and Elko casinos were one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal November gaming report released last week.

While the Nevada gaming industry reported a drop of over 11 percent in gaming win, clubs in Elko County showed a 4.17 percent increase in win.

In Wendover the increase was even larger. According to the report Wendover casinos reported $13.5 million in win up 5.41 percent from November 2011.

Win” is a gross figure, with no operating costs or other expenses deducted. And it’s casino revenue only _ separate from hotel, restaurant or bar revenues generated by the resorts.

While win indicates a casino market’s profitability another statistic “play” is an indicator of how casino workers are fairing. With some casino workers dependent on tips for up to half of their total income, play, the amount of money wagered by gamblers is a good indicator of how much casino workers received in tips and how many gamblers are actually in the casino.

Slot win in Wendover was up 7.1 percent to $10.3 million. Slot play was up at 8.9 percent to $186.9 million . Slot hold declined slightly from 5.62 percent to 5.53 percent.

Win from table games and sports betting was up 0.2 percent to $3.2 million. Play was up 6.1 percent to $16.4 million. Hold declined from 20.55 to 19.4 percent.

gamingnovemberFor the fiscal year to date Wendover clubs are down 0.58 percent at just under $70 million.

Casinos in the rest of Elko County saw total gaming win up 2.02 percent. Slot win was up 7.6 percent to $6.8 million. Slot play was up 10.5 percent to  $103.8 million. Slot hold was down from 6.75 percent to 6.58 percent. Table games were down 33.0 percent in the balance of Elko County posting total win of  $671,000. Table play was up 2.4 percent at $4.1 million . Hold plunged from 24.42 percent to 15.98 percent.

Elko county’s weak win numbers in sports betting was magnified in throughout the state. 

Statewide, casinos won $782.6 million in November, down $97.5 million from a year ago. Casino taxes of $45.7 million collected by the state were down 20.2 percent, the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported.

Mike Lawton, senior control board analyst, said the winnings were the lowest monthly total since June 2010.

Still, total statewide win is up 1.5 percent for the fiscal year that began July 1.

wrecjan2013Analysts cited several factors for the monthly revenue fall. Football bettors trounced the house at sports books and the Las Vegas Strip lacked a major boxing match of the kind that pumped up casino coffers in 2011.

Lawton said casino winnings in November 2011 were bolstered by the Manny Pacquiao bout against Juan Manuel Marquez. Such events are big draws for high rollers.

But Lawton noted that Pacquiao fought in Las Vegas last month, a factor that should help December’s casino win report.

Sports pools statewide lost $8.2 million, a decline of $25.4 million, or 147 percent, from winnings in November 2011, the report said, despite betting volume that was up $99.5 million. The bulk of the loss, $5.3 million, was attributed to football betting.

“In general, bettors bet the favorites and they bet the over,” Lawton said. “The majority of the favorites won during November.

“Bettors had one of those months where you just scratch your head.”

Newmont notes notesjan2013

Las Vegas Strip casinos in November pulled in $431.8 million, down 12.8 percent. Downtown casinos winnings were down 17 percent.

The $36.9 million won by Reno casinos was down 3 percent, while South Lake Tahoe’s $18 million was up almost 27 percent.

The “win” is what was left in casino coffers after bettors wagered about $11 billion on table games, sports betting and slot machines. A breakdown shows $2.4 billion was bet on cards and other games, while gamblers plunked $8.6 billion into slot and video gambling machines.

Baccarat, a high roller game favored by Asian players, also factored into the overall statewide decline.

The $71.7 million won by casinos was down $17.7 million, or nearly 20 percent, from November 2011, there report said. The $564 million wagered on baccarat was off $93 million, or 14.2 percent.

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