Archive | June, 2013

Ely City Manager Canned on 5-0 Council Vote

Posted on 28 June 2013 by Howard Copelan

 

Jim Alworth

Jim Alworth, web photo

With his job on the chopping block, Ely City Clerk Jim Alworth went on vacation.

Perhaps he should have stayed.

The Ely city council unanimously voted to fire the controversial City Manager in Thursday’s to the cheers of a packed audience.

Discussion and possible action on Alworth termination is on the agenda for this week’s meeting of the Ely City Council.

But the embattled city clerk wasto defend himself. Instead Alworth will be on his way for a cruise according to sources.

Alworth and his conduct became a major campaign issue in the recent city election and unfortunately for the City Clerk all of the candidates he was backing lost.

According to Ely city code only a unanimous vote by the council could result in the city Clerk’s termination.

Alworth Ely City Clerk for the last 13 years has had a long and sometimes tumultuous relationship with Ely Elected officials.

 

fandango1But while Alworth had run ins with some city councilmen and even some mayors he was able to maintain political support, albeit sometimes at a bare minimum, of the council.

Despite inserting himself directly into the most recent election with public letters attacking the eventual victors if alworth is fired it would be because of his reaction to the election rather than its results.

According to sources at one and perhaps more of the victorious councilmen tried to extend an olive branch to the City Clerk all of which Alworth rejected out of hand.

 

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New WWPD Chief Reaches Out To City

Posted on 28 June 2013 by Howard Copelan

Burdel Welsh

Burdel Welsh

Burdel Welsh, West Wendover’s new police chief is a soft spoken man from Kansas who stressed the importance of relations between his officers and the community.

In a two-hour-long wide ranging interview with the High Desert Advocate, Welch repeatedly stressed the importance of building and maintaining a good relationship between the police department and the community it serves.

Welsh explained the very nature of police work and its associated stress has an effect on anyone who wears the badge. Pent up anxiety and aggression can lead to a whole bevy of physical and psychological problems from over eating to overt aggressiveness toward the public.

According to Welsh there are various exercises both physical and mental that have been proven to reduce the toll the badge and the uniform take.

For his own part Welsh said he was considering visiting local churches and organizations to introduce himself to the community.

Unfortunately for the Lutheran Welsh there is no church of his denomination in town.

“We have been driving to Salt Lake for services,” he said. “Although I heard there is a Lutheran church in Elko. I am used to being a minority I went to a Catholic high school and was only one of three Lutherans there.”

Welsh, 56, was appointed by Mayor Emily Carter Tuesday and unanimously endorsed by the city council in May and took over the department earlier this month.

fandango1A 35 year veteran of law enforcement Welsh hails from Tonganoxie, Kansas a city of about 5,000 in Leavenworth county.  Welsh wrote that he spent most of his career with the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Department leaving in 2005 as Under Sheriff.

After 2005 he was served as Police chief of Lake Quivira, Kansas  and in 2009 was elected to the city council of Tonganoxie. In 2010 Welsh resign his council seat and left Kansas to become Deputy Chief of Police at the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site (RTS), formerly known as Kwajalein Missile Range on the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

ConnectMore-halfpage“Sequestration caused a 30 percent cut in the force and my position was hit,” Welsh said. “It went from being a police department to base security.”

In 2012 Welsh returned to Tonganoxie to run for Leavenworth County Sheriff. He lost the race and when the West Wendover chief’s job opened up with the retirement of Ron Supp in November was one of 45 candidates who submitted an application.

In several areas Tonganoxie is quite similar to West Wendover. It population at 5,000 is about the same and the town also has one high school, one middle school and one elementary school. It like West Wendover is also the third largest community in Leavenworth County which is also dominated by a much larger city that is the county seat and shares the same name with the county as Elko does here.

With Leavenworth county bordering the Kansas/Missouri state line, Welsh certainly has experience in interstate relations that often bedevil law enforcement operations.

wrecfixedadBut while the two cities have much in common there are some important differences. Tonganoxie is by no means a tourist town. It was illegal to even buy a drink in Leavenworth county until the late 1980’s. And while Kansas does have a handful of legal casinos none are close to Tonganoxie.

Wendover on the other hand lives or dies by the entertainment industry. Boasting five major casino/resorts and a have a dozen of hotels on the Utah side the casino industry directly employs over 80 percent of the workforce including there of the five West Wendover City Councilmen and the mayor. While Tonganoxie population stays relatively stable year round, Wendover’s can swell up to four times or more its size during the weekends especially during the peak summer months.

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Wendover CAP Cadets Take Top Honors

Posted on 28 June 2013 by Howard Copelan

Cadet Airman AnneMarie Darrington checks into boot camp

Cadet Airman AnneMarie Darrington checks into boot camp

 

 

Wendover Civil Air Patrol High School Cadets took top honors in the organisation’s “Encampment” held last week in Wendover.

Cadet Technical Sergeant Enrique Trujillo was presented the Life Saving Award for action he took at Wendover High School when he saved a fellow student’s life this March. The Outstanding Cadet Award was presented to Cadet Airman Moises Rojas, a 14-year old student at Wendover High School.  This award is presented to the one cadet who has excelled in every aspect of the training and is the top award.  The Most Improved Cadet Award went to Cadet Airman AnneMarie Darrington,  a student at West Wendover High School.

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Outstanding CAP Cadets Moises Rojas, AnneMarie Darrington & Enrique Trujillo

 

 

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capcadet3More than 120 High School students from all over Utah participated in the eight day long boot camp style training program that included physical fitness, character development, marksmanship, and the opportunity to fly in one of the CAP aircraft.

The week long camp began June 15th and after eight days cadets participated in the colorful Pass in Review Ceremony held at the Wendover High School Soccer Field on June 22nd.

The Wendover Squadron is now one of the largest Civil Air Patrol Squadrons in Utah with 30 cadets.  The Squadron will participate in the 4th of July Parade.  Later this summer, members of the Squadron will travel to Colorado Springs for a visit to the United States Air Force Academy.  Cadets meet on Mondays at 6:00 at the Wendover Air Base Fire House.  Annual dues for membership are $33.00.  Cadets range in age from 12 to 18.  Interested youth are welcome to attend.

ConnectMore-halfpageCivil Air Patrol (CAP) is a Congressionally chartered, federally supported non-profit corporation that serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force (USAF). CAP is a volunteer organization with an aviation-minded membership that includes people from all backgrounds, lifestyles, and occupations. It performs three congressionally assigned key missions: emergency services, which includes search and rescue (by air and ground) and disaster relief operations; aerospace education for youth and the general public; and cadet programs for teenage youth. In addition, CAP has recently been tasked with homeland security and courier service missions. CAP also performs non-auxiliary missions for various governmental and private agencies, such as local law enforcement and the American Red Cross. The program is established as an organization by Title 10 of the United States Code and its purposes defined by Title 36.

fandango1Membership in the organization consists of cadets ranging from 12 to just under 21 years of age, and senior members 18 years of age and up. These two groups each have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of pursuits; the cadet program contributes to the development of the former group with a structured syllabus and an organization based upon United States Air Force ranks and pay grades, while the older members serve as instructors, supervisors, and operators. All members wear uniforms while performing their duties.

Nationwide, CAP is a major operator of single-engine general aviation aircraft, used in the execution of its various missions, including orientation flights for cadets and the provision of significant emergency services capabilities. Because of these extensive flying opportunities, many CAP members become licensed pilots.

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Wendover Casino April Doldrums

Posted on 28 June 2013 by Howard Copelan

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West Wendover casinos reported an unexpected decline in gaming win in April according to the latest report from the Nevada Gaming control board.

According the report released earlier this month Wendover club’s total gaming win was down 4.6 percent from last year to $13 million.

“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.

April was expected to show an increase something like March’s 7.66 gain.

ConnectMore-halfpageFrom December to February Wendover and the rest of Elko County was in the grips of an unprecedented cold snap that saw just a handful of days above freezing and saw win numbers fall to Great Recession levels.

But while the sunshine stayed through spring gambling dollars did not increase according to the report. Slot win in Wendover was down 4.4 percent to $10.2 million. Slot play was down 2.2 percent to $194 million . Slot hold decreased from 5.37 percent to 5.25 percent.

Win from table games and sports betting was down 5.2 percent to $2.8 million. Play was down 9.3 percent to $12.8 million. Hold increased from 21.25 to 22.21 percent.

For the fiscal year to date Wendover clubs are down 2.63 percent at $123.7 million.

Casinos in the rest of Elko County saw total gaming win fall 2.84 percent to $8.55 million. Slot win was down 1.4 percent to $7.8 million. Slot play was up 2.3 percent to  $104.6 million. Slot hold fell from 7.69 percent to 7.41 percent. Table games were down 15.5 percent in the balance of Elko County posting total win of  $740,000. Table play was down 5.0 percent at $3.4 million . Hold decreased from 24.78 percent to 22.1 percent.

fandango1Throughout the state The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported  that revenue was $854.2 million, down 0.16 percent compared to the same month of a year ago.

Revenue in April 2012 was up 6.2 percent from 2011, so “it was a tough comp,” said Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the board.

Las Vegas Strip casinos reported revenue, before taxes and expenses, of $448.5 million, down 2.3 percent compared to the same month in 2012 when winnings were up 7.4 percent.

There was also one less Sunday in April compared to a year ago.

Lawton said for the first 10 months of the fiscal year, gaming revenue was up 2.4 percent statewide and 5 percent on the Las Vegas Strip, which does more than half the state’s gaming business.

“For the fiscal year, we’re sitting pretty good,” Lawton said.

full report click link: mrrapr13

wrecfixedadDowntown Las Vegas casinos reported a 6.9 percent decline in revenue, and North Las Vegas was off 11.4 percent. Mesquite fell 4.7 percent, but the other areas in Clark County all showed increases.

Laughlin had an 11.4 percent increase; the Boulder Strip was up 5.7 percent and the remainder of Clark County rose 2 percent.

For the second straight month, Washoe County casinos posted a strong win, with revenue up 10 percent. Lawton said this was due to the major men’s and women’s bowling tournaments being held there.

South Lake Tahoe posted a 14.8 percent gain in revenue; Carson Valley was down 2.6 percent, and Elko County fell 3.8 percent.

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Fire Works Family Booming

Posted on 28 June 2013 by Howard Copelan

Earl, Pops and Steven Cassorla

Earl, Pops and Steven Cassorla

Having lunch with Earl Cassorla is an experience. Soft spoken and erudite, Earl appears to be the average respectable middle aged businessman who has sober and respectable opinions about just about everything.

That is until we get to the subject of his business– fireworks.

While Earl’s knowledge of the subject is truly remarkable the change in his demeanor is astounding. A twinkle grows in his eyes and his hands literally dance in expression.

This is a man talking with passion about his passion.

No, more than that this is the kid in the candy store.

fandango1Better yet this is a guy who owns a fireworks stand.

As the fancy of little and big boys turns to fireworks in the coming weeks many will make pilgrimage to Battle Mountain Nevada, the new Mecca for things that go boom in the night and make beautiful albeit fleeting pictures in the sky.

There inside Roller Coaster Fireworks they will meet their kindred, brothers Steven and Earl Cassorla who finally yielded to their dream eight years ago to run the greatest fireworks stand in the world.

The brothers dream was born over 40 years ago in Rochester, New York.

“Like all boys we loved fireworks,” said Earl. “And like a lot of little boys we made plans to have the greatest fireworks stand when we grew up.”

If not the greatest, Roller Coaster in Battle Mountain is still pretty good with aisle upon aisle of wonderful explosives guaranteed to satisfy the most ardent aficionado.

But the Cassorla brothers  journey from 4th of July Rochester to year round Battle Mountain was neither smooth nor in a straight line. Middle class boys from upstate New York simply did not go into the fireworks business, they became lawyers and engineers.

And that is what the Cassorla brothers did. Steven went to the law and Earl is the electrical engineer. Yet even while they were fulfilling expectations in the classroom the brothers could not get fireworks out of their systems.

   ConnectMore-halfpage “When I was about 14 I went under the fence at the local baseball stadium show,” said Steven. “I wrote the name of the company putting on the show on my jacket and tried to blend in with the crew. Yeah, I was caught by the owner’s son. He took me to the old man and said “Hey dad, we got another one”.  The guy looked down at me and asked me if I liked fireworks. I quickly nodded yes.  Then he asked me if I wanted to dig holes and I nodded yes again.  He gave me a job and that is what I did for the following four summers.”

    Steven eventually got his class B fireworks license meaning he joined that elite fraternity of professionals who put on public displays around the country on July Fourths, boy scout jamborees, weddings, NYE’s, and even shooting for President Reagan’s second presidential victory party.

In addition to shows Steven and Earl began attending conventions of fireworks enthusiasts.  In 1988 they produced a new premium firecracker called Roller Coaster Brand which is wholesaled around the country, yet still something was missing.

“It was Earl who came up with the idea of opening a retail store” Steven said.

And in 2001 the brothers left their ‘real jobs’ and opened a store in Battle Mountain, Nevada once described as the “Armpit of America” by the New York Times, but adored by nearly all of it’s scantly 5,000 residents who enjoy small town life.

wrecfixedad    Although the town in Nevada’s High Desert may not be everyone’s cup of tea on the outside, inside Roller Coaster is paradise.  Anything anyone could want from mild to wild are on the shelves of the store in a remarkable pean to what is quickly becoming a bygone era; the back yard fireworks show.

    Often it was a multi generational bonding where father son and grandson bonded regardless of politics or even social standing in that uniquely male obsession with making things go boom.

The Cassorla brothers for their part have kept this multigenerational tradition alive. Every morning the brothers 98 year old father reports to work at their Battle Mountain store.

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Connie Zelma LaCombe, 1948-2013

Posted on 28 June 2013 by Howard Copelan

zelmalacomb

Connie Zelma LaCombe

 

Born: November 15th 1948 in Mountain Home, Arkansas

 

Passed away: June 13th 2013 in Wendover Nevada

 

Preceded in death by: Father Virgil Stone, Mother Zelma Arbaugh, Brothers Troy and Robert Stone, Sister Shirley Orr

 

Survived by: Brothers Roy Stone of Golden Valley, Arizona, Marvin Stone of Buhl, Idaho, Larry Stone of Twin Falls, Idaho and Bobby Trivitt of Jerome, Idaho. Son Robert LaCombe Jr. of Wendover, Nevada

 

Graveside services were held at the Wendover Cemetery on June 17th

 

Connie moved to Wendover in 1972 and worked at Jim’s Casino and Silver Smith Casino.

 

Connie worked for the Rainbow Casino for the past 17 years.

 

Connie will be fondly remembered and dearly missed by family, friends, and those who knew her.

 

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Polygamists Deserve Same As Gays

Posted on 28 June 2013 by Howard Copelan

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Howard Copelan, Publisher

As the first and for a long time only Nevada newspaper to endorse gay marriage we are satisfied with the Supreme Court’s striking down of DOMA.

However what we can’t abide are politicians, op-ed writers and the like who less than ten years ago supported DOMA and all the other anti gay legislation crowing how “they” won now.

We never liked band wagons and we loath folks whose opinions evolve conviently to the winning side at just the right time.

So now let’s talk about legalizing polygamy.

Gasp and heavens to Betsy!!!!

All the arguments for gay marriage apply just as well to polygamy and unlike homosexual unions it has a strong clear biblical base.

All of the biblical patriarchs except Isaac had more than one wife.

King Solomon had over 500.

Indeed the whole idea of having just one wife comes from then pagan Greece and Rome.

And while personally the whole idea of having more than wife gives us the heebie jeebies, they are not heebier or jeebier when we are forced to think about our middle aged gay friends making out.

Yes we know of the horror stories from polygamous cults. We do live in rural Nevada.

But one could well argue that criminalizing of polygamy plays more than a small role in creating the climate for those abuses.

There are perhaps hundreds if not thousands of polygamous families who are just as boring as the rest of us but still in the closet.

Isn’t it time we let them into the light?

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Wendover Airshow Cancelled, Sequester Grounds Air Force

Posted on 07 June 2013 by Howard Copelan

airshow

In addition to causing thousands of layoffs the federal sequestration claimed another victim– the 2013 Wendover Air Show, said event organise Jim Petersen this week.

“We were really hoping we could save it,” Petersen said. “But all military exhibitions have been grounded including the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds. Instead of struggling to put something together this year, we decided to cancel and put our efforts into a first class air show next year.”

The sequester or sequestration refers to budget cuts to particular categories of federal spending that began on March 1, 2013 as an austerity fiscal policy. The cuts were enacted by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and initially set to begin on January 1 but that date was postponed by two months by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. The spending reductions are approximately $85.4 billion during fiscal year 2013, with similar cuts for years 2014 through 2021.

ConnectMore-halfpageThe cuts are split evenly between the defense and non-defense categories.Some major programs like Social Security, Medicaid, federal pay (including military pay and pensions) and veterans’ benefits are exempt. Medicare spending will be reduced by two percent per year versus the planned levels.

Already the sequestration was blamed for thousands of layoffs mostly of civilian employees working either directly for the US military or for businesses with military contracts. Civilian workers at military installations are considered the most vulnerable to the sequestration.

In addition to layoffs the belt tightening hit military exhibitions such as Air Shows hard.

“It isn’t just Wendover, its all over the country,” said airport manager Richard Brown.

In April The U.S. Navy announced it was canceling all the air shows its Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron had scheduled for the rest of the year. The Navy action follows the Air Force’s announcement that its Thunderbirds team would not perform again this year.

“Recognizing budget realities, current Defense policy states that outreach events can only be supported with local assets at no cost to the government,” said a statement Tuesday from the office of the Commander Naval Air Forces in San Diego. “This is one of many steps the Navy is taking to ensure resources are in place to support forces operating forward now and those training to relieve them.”

wrecgradadThe Navy, Air Force and the rest of the federal government must deal with $85 billion in cuts for the rest of fiscal year 2013, which ends September 30, that were mandated by a 2011 agreement by Congress that raised the federal debt ceiling.

The Air Force had said earlier this year that air shows can cost bases $100,000.

While expensive exhibitions are probably one of the best forms of public relations for the US military, Petersen said.

“Words really can’t describe how it feels seeing our jets and our pilots up close. Hopefully by next year we can see them again.”

The Wendover air show has been a perennial favorite for tourists and local alike. It has attracted thousands of visitors since it began in 1990.

With the Harley ride to Wendover it became the second major public event to be cancelled this year.

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I-80 Miracle, Premature Twins Born On Roadside

Posted on 07 June 2013 by Howard Copelan

One of the I-80 miracle twins

One of the I-80 miracle twins

All tourists in Wendover come with some hope of getting lucky.

Some even do but no high roller ever came close to the luck of Lynette Hales Sunday and her new born premature boy twins delivered on the side of I-80 with only the help of a friend and UHP troopers.

Hales, 39, arrived in Wendover the day before. Seven months pregnant with twins the outing was to be a last weekend getaway before the babies were supposed to arrive in about two months.

The best laid plans of mice, men and pregnant women often go awry.

Hales woke up Sunday morning in full labor. She called her traveling companion and long time family friend Jim Gerber and he and Hales sped off to Salt Lake City.

Hales press conference

Hales press conference

They got about 26 miles. The at the appropriately named Tree of Life sculpture Gerber pulled off the road and Hales gave birth to two, two month premature twin boys.

What hales and gerber did not realize that just six months before another Salt Lake woman gave birth to twins at that very spot.

The first, Jeffrey Jr. or J.J., was born before the highway patrol or medics could arrive to help. The baby was a grayish-blue and wasn’t breathing, Hales said.

“I was so scared that he wasn’t going to make it and that my choice of being out there was going to cause my babies not to live,” Hales said, holding back tears, at a news conference Monday evening.

She and Gerber revived the newborn using CPR and she kept talking to her baby boy as he gurgled and struggled to breathe.

“He would look up at me,” she said. “I’m like, ‘I’m not going to let you go.’”

The baby was still struggling when Utah State Trooper Nathan Powell arrived after speeding to the call from about 30 miles away.

“I could see the baby was purple,” Powell said. “He didn’t look real good.”

Powell pulled out a suction tool to clear the baby’s mouth and nose, and gave the infant oxygen. Just as the boy began to breathe on his own, Hales went into labor with the second baby.

With Gerber and a Tooele County sheriff’s deputy staying with J.J., Powell and his fellow trooper moved over to help Hales deliver the second boy, Anthony James, or A.J. He came out feet first but was breathing. “It gave out a big squawk,” Powell said. “It was breathing much easier than the first one.”

An ambulance arrived just as Powell was cutting the umbilical cord for the second baby boy, he said. Shortly afterward, two helicopters arrived with a team of high-risk pregnancy specialists. They flew Hales and her two baby boys to the Intermountain Medical Center in the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray.

ConnectMore-halfpageThe boys only weigh 3 pounds each and will likely remain in intensive care for weeks, but doctors say they are expected to be fine. Their mother hopes they’ll be able to come home by her original due date in mid-August.

“They are such miracles,” she said. “They are fighters.”

At Monday’s news conference, she and her husband of nine years, Jeff Hales, 47, held hands tightly with her mother, sister and two of her sons, ages 11 and 14, nearby. Jeff Hales was eating breakfast at home when he got the call from his wife Sunday morning.

“It was shocking,” he said. “You are where, what?”

When he got over the initial shock, he sped to the hospital where his wife and newborns were being taken. The two little boys join the four children each has from previous relationships.

“They are beautiful,” Jeff Hales said with a big smile.

Lynette Hales thanked the troopers and Gerber for helping the babies survive, saying they never gave up and kept her calm. State Trooper Cameron Fawson said it was Gerber and Lynette Hales who should be applauded for staying calm through the high-stress ordeal.

“Mom was quite the sport,” Fawson said. “I think she was keeping me calm.”

Fawson said roadside births are common on this stretch of highway — this was the second set of twins troopers have delivered along I-80 in Tooele County in about a year — but this was a first time for him, Powell and the third officer, Tooele County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric McCollum.

“It definitely was not what I expected for a Sunday morning,” Fawson said. “I was out looking for speeders.”

Gerber, 44, thought he would be one of them. When the retired Navy corpsman and medical instructor made the 911 call, he alerted highway patrol troopers that a green mini van was going to come speeding by with a woman in labor.

wrecgradad“If you see a green smear pass your car, it’s probably me,” Gerber said he told them. “And don’t pull me over because I have a situation.”

Shortly after, though, a dispatcher told Gerber to pull over and stay put. In the end, it all worked out with a happy ending that will someday make for one heck of a story to tell A.J. and J.J.

“It was hard, it was scary,” Lynette Hales said. “It was a moment like no other.”

According to Wendover Ambulance Manager Casey Snyder there is an average of one birth a year on the Highway to Salt Lake.

“Some years there won’t be any, some we will have more than one,” Snyder said. “All babies are different and so are births.”

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Water War Moves To Court, Then To Baker After Party

Posted on 07 June 2013 by Howard Copelan

snwa5

Opponents of the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s massive pipeline project are confident heading into next week’s hearing in White Pine County (NV) District Court challenging the water rights granted SNWA in Spring, Cave, Dry Lake, and Delamar Valleys.

On June 13 and 14, Senior Judge Robert Estes will hear oral arguments concerning the Nevada State Engineer’s rulings from March 2012 permitting SNWA to pump and export to Las Vegas up to 61,127 acre feet of groundwater annually from Spring Valley and 22,861 acre feet per year from Cave, Dry Lake and Delamar Valleys.  Day one will likely consider issues affecting all four valleys and those specific to Spring Valley.  The second day is expected to focus on the other three basins.

Simeon Herskovits, who represents Great Basin Water Network, White Pine County and more than 350 additional plaintiffs in Nevada and Utah, said “we are confident that the science, the facts and the law support our case that the State Engineer’s decisions should be reversed.” Other plaintiffs in the hearings include the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Nation, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Millard County (UT), and Baker Ranches.

ConnectMore-halfpage“There isn’t the amount of water available to export without devastating effects upon senior water rights holders, the environment and the communities in the region.  It would take centuries after pumping ceases before these basins would return to equilibrium – so allowing SNWA to pump to these permitted limits would amount to illegal groundwater mining,” Herskovits said.

The same court in Ely in 2009 overturned the State Engineer’s ruling awarding SNWA water rights in Cave, Dry Lake and Delamar Valleys, finding that the Engineer had “abused his discretion”, that the ruling was “arbitrary and capricious”, and that the groundwater in question was already appropriated and used down-gradient.

A previous ruling by the State Engineer granting SNWA water rights in Spring Valley was invalidated in 2010 by the Nevada Supreme Court in a separate case brought by GBWN.  In that case, the Court found that the State Engineer had taken too long to hold hearings on SNWA’s water rights applications, effectively denying the due process rights of water rights holders and other interested parties an opportunity to protest those applications.Snake Valley Festival Three days after the arguments in court friends and fans of Snake Valley will gather in Baker, Nevada, the weekend of June 14-16 for the Snake Valley Festival, to celebrate and raise funds to support community preservation. The public is invited to join the fun’raising. All proceeds from the three days of events will benefit Great Basin Water Network  to help protect the water and environment in eastern Nevada.

wrecgradadAn ice cream social at the community center and a wine tasting at The Border Inn will kick off events on Friday night. Following the wine tasting there will be a dance and a pageant to find 2013’s Mr. and Ms. Snake Valley. Saturday’s activities include a giant name-your-price yard sale in the center of town, the smallest parade near the Loneliest Highway (it’s so small they go around twice), and booths and vendors flanking the main street. There will also be a solar telescope so visitors can look safely at the sun. Food will be available at the community center, T&D’s, and Lectrolux, with free entertainment at the community center in the afternoon. Other activities include a silent auction, children’s games, and a massive water fight.

Saturday night features a BBQ dinner, raffle drawing and live auction at the Border Inn.

For runners and walkers, Sunday’s Snake Valley Slither, a 5 or 10K run or walk begins at 8 a.m.

For more information and for a list of events, go to www.protectsnakevalley.org or call 775/234-7265.

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